It is considered the latest stage in the evolution of concepts since the United Nations Water Conference in 1977, the Global Consultation on Safe Water and Sanitation for the 1990s, held in New Delhi in 1990 and the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992.

Para. 2.4 : "The long-term objective continues to be 'safe drinking water supply and sanitation for all'. Access to adequate water and sanitation is a basic need which has to be met. It needs to be accompanied by an obligation to use water efficiently and to dispose of wastes in an environmentally sound manner for the benefit of future generations. This is a precondition for substantial progress towards the common targets of health for all, poverty alleviation, environmental conservation and economic and human development. To achieve these goals, water and environmental sanitation programmes need to be tailored to the ability of the local environment to support them, to local socio-economic and cultural conditions and needs, and to the availability of resources. Differences in the needs, work and influence of, and benefits for, men and women need to be taken into account."