Global annual results report 2019: Goal Area 4

Progress, results achieved and lessons from 2019 by Goal Area 4: ensuring that every child lives in a safe and clean environment

3 young girls standing in a line together washing their hands
UNICEF/UN0339415/Frank Dejongh


UNICEF works to safeguard the right of all children to a safe and clean environment both in times of stability and crisis. Under Goal Area 4 of the UNICEF Strategic Plan, 2018–2021, programming is grouped under five output areas: water supply, sanitation, disaster risk reduction, children in urban settings and environmental sustainability. In each of these areas significant progress was made in 2019.  

In 2019 UNICEF helped over 18 million people gain access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services through development programming and over 39 million people through emergency response, while expanding community handwashing promotion efforts to 90 countries and providing WASH services in thousands of schools and health centres. Working with partners, UNICEF also helped to build national WASH capacity and systems in countries around the world.  

UNICEF also encouraged stronger linkages between humanitarian response and sustainable development to improve the resilience of communities, increased engagement in urban areas and with local government partners, and undertook a major expansion in climate resilience programming.   

WASH COVID-19 pandemic response was initiated at the end of 2019, the year covered by this report, and has since expanded into a world-wide effort, focusing on guidance and supplies for hand washing with soap, along with support for WASH services in communities, schools and health-care facilities.

This report summarizes how UNICEF and its partners contributed to Goal Area 4 in 2019 and reviews the impact of these accomplishments on children and the communities where they live.

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