Britain's aid watchdog has raised concerns over the UK's decision to cut funding by two thirds for its water and hygiene initiatives of the overseas aid budget.
In an assessment of the UK's water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programme, the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) has raised concerns over the initiative's budget being cut from over $268 million to an estimated around $91 million in 2021, reads a press release issued by the WaterAid Bangladesh.
The report titled "The UK's changing approach to water, sanitation and hygiene" mentioned that the UK's target, under its Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030 is falling far short from being met. So far, progress is lagging well behind these ambitions.
Recent assessments suggest that the rate of progress needs to increase fourfold if the 2030 targets are to be met. As well as the financial gap, the SDG is threatened by unsustainable water usage, pollution of water sources and the accelerating impacts of climate change, with more frequent and more severe droughts and flooding undermining sustainable WASH services."
Tim Wainwright, chief executive of WaterAid UK said: "The consequences are potentially devastating; lives unfulfilled or even cut short as girls and women have to walk further to collect water or drop out of school, and diseases spread more easily, while the climate crisis rages. The UK still has a chance – through its forthcoming
International Development Strategy – to improve the lives of more of the poorest people and regain its position as a world leader on this issue. To achieve this, it needs to restore the aid budget to 0.7% and increase funding for water, sanitation and hygiene alongside technical expertise"
Hasin Jahan, country director of WaterAid Bangladesh, said that foreign aid has significant positive impacts on the people in Bangladesh.
"WASH can play a vital role in ensuring gender equity and improving health outcomes for women and children.
"Funding cuts mean most vulnerable people are being neglected," she added.