The main framework for development cooperation in the WATSAN sector was established in the context of various meetings and policy documents dating back to the 1970s.
Notably, the Dublin Conference Report set out principles for action in the WATSAN sector at local, national and international levels.
Funders' behavior in the WATSAN sector is increasingly relevant considering the ambitious 2030 Development Agenda and the fact that development cooperation in the WATSAN sector is rapidly gaining more devoted attention internationally.
Looking closer at the trend of growing funding for the WATSAN sector through international cooperation, a few important nuances are relevant from a human rights standpoint.
For instance, the majority of development projects registered in the OECD database for the WATSAN sector--accounting for more than half the amount of funds dedicated to this sector--do not clearly indicate whether rural or urban areas are targeted (17).
An analysis of fund distribution according to the main categories for development cooperation to the WATSAN sector (water resources policy and management; large water supply and sanitation systems; basic water supply and sanitation systems; and education and training) suggests that rural areas receive much less funding than urban areas.
Moreover, although the importance of education and training for stakeholders involved in the provision of WATSAN services has long been highlighted as a key to ensuring sustainability, OECD data reveals that this subsector receives an insignificant proportion of WASH funding.
In the WATSAN sector, data reveals a variable trend of majority funding through public entities; in 2006, 51 percent of funds were channeled through a public entity in developed States, in 2011 this figure was 83 percent, in 2015 it was 74 percent (15).
The international NGO WaterAid warned that less than a quarter of development cooperation aid to the WATSAN sector was being allocated to the LDCs, proposing a global framework for action to "recalibrate development priorities" (20).
The types of services to which funds were allocated for the LDCs' WATSAN sector were slightly more encouraging as compared to the trends in all other countries.
While human rights law clearly requires States to respect, protect and fulfil all human rights in projects they finance both in their nation and abroad, the human rights-based approach in development cooperation to the WATSAN sector is still not well incorporated by policy makers, sector experts or practitioners.
Some civil society organizations have qualified development cooperation in the WATSAN sector as apt to frequently disregard human rights principles including transparency, access to in formation, and non-discrimination, and the normative content of the related human rights such as ensuring service affordability.