The Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS) is one of UN-Water’s regular reports. Its focuses include aspects of investment and the enabling environment for the delivery of water, sanitation and hygiene services. Accountability refers to the mechanisms through which duty bearers, elected officials and service providers report to rights holders and other stakeholders within the service delivery framework. Accountability contributes to good sector performance and the overall sustainability of services. The aim of this study was to evaluate the level of accountability in the drinking-water and sanitation sector globally, based on the available data from the GLAAS survey of 2014. To achieve this, accountability was defined from a human rights perspective, and particularised for water and sanitation. Next the quantitative and open-ended questions from the GLAAS survey that related to this definition were analysed for all 94 responding countries. Comparisons were drawn between water and sanitation services in urban and rural settings, and regional trends were identified. The results show higher levels of accountability for water than sanitation services, and limited information on wastewater. Potential means to strengthen accountability in water and sanitation globally are seen to include improving access to information on the services provided, enacting participation policies and increasing the capacity of regulatory institutions. Particular attention should be paid to rural services. The GLAAS survey could be modified for a better understanding of the accountability mechanisms for WASH service provision.

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