Category Archives: Policy

Save the Date: April 11 Webcast from Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting

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On April 11, the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) partnership will hold its High Level Meeting 2014 in Washington, D.C. SWA is a global partnership of over 90 developing country governments, donors, civil society organizations and other development partners working together to catalyse political leadership and action, improve accountability and use scarce resources more effectively. Partners work towards a common vision of universal access to safe water and adequate sanitation.

Interested individuals can participate in the meeting virtually, in two ways. First, you can watch the live webcast from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time (18:00 – 20:30 GMT) on April 11 at this link http://live.worldbank.org/sanitation-water-for-all-high-level-meeting. Secondly, you can submit questions to panelists via a form found at the same link.

To find out more about the meeting, including the latest on commitments in water and sanitation from some 50 countries, visit http://sanitationandwaterforall.org.

Below are some additional details about the meeting.

WHO:          Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General
                     Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group
                     H.E. John Agyekum Kufuor, Chairman, Sanitation and                                           Water for All Partnership
                     Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF
                     Prof. Judi Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of                                                 Environment, Water and Natural Resources, Republic of Kenya
                     Dr. Shanta Devarajan, Chief Economist, World Bank
                     Hon. Sufian Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Ethiopia
                     Jan Eliasson, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General
Ministers of finance, development, water, health and sanitation                                     from 50 countries
International and national NGOs and development organizations

WHAT:          Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) High Level Meeting (HLM) in conjunction with the 2014 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group

WHEN:       Friday,April 11, 2014 , 1400 – 1630  EST  (DC time)

WHERE:       World Bank Group, IFC Auditorium, 2121 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Washington, DC

WHY:              1 in 3 people (2.5 billion) around the world still do not have access to safe sanitation, including 1 billion who must  defecate in the open. Almost 600,000 children under five died from diarrhoeal diseases, or about 1,600 per day, in 2012.   Three-quarters of a billion people do not have a source of improved drinking water and billions more use unsafe water. These, along with poor sanitation and hygiene, contribute to malnutrition and stunting in 165 million children globally.   Top economists agree that the return on investments in water and sanitation is 5 to 1. Two years ago, 48 countries made 415 commitments toward expanding access to safe water and sanitation. This year, countries will assess their progress and make new efforts to continue that momentum.

AMCOW training consultancy on sanitation & hygiene policy development

The African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) needs the services of a training service provider to carry out a sanitation and hygiene policy training.  Focal persons in Burundi, Chad, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe need to be brought up to speed on drawing up plans and strategies .

The aim of this small (20 days) but interesting assignment is to:

train the focal countries on the process of developing a policy document and costed implementation plans and strategies for ending open defecation in those countries, and how to operationalise them.

The assignment supports a US$ 2 million Gates Foundation funded policy and advocacy project being implemented by AMCOW .

Closing date for receipt of applications is March 7, 2014.

Read the full Terms of Reference.

Please do not submit applications or requests for information to Sanitation Updates.

India, Bihar: if you want to be elected, get a toilet first

First we had “no toilet, no bride“, now you need a toilet to be elected in India. At least that’s  what chief minister Nitish Kumar is proposing for his state Bihar. He made the announcement on World Toilet Day, 19 November.

Candidates who don’t have a toilet in their home will not be allowed to contest rural (panchayat) and urban local body elections in the state.  The chief minister said he would ensure that relevant legislation (Bihar Panchayati Raj Act) would be amended to make this possible.

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Making hygiene the central issue

I’ve just had the luxury of sitting down and reading a pile of reports that have been accumulating over the last few months.   A group of these relates to the clear links between sanitation and under-nutrition, especially, how the prevalence of open defecation (OD) in India is clearly correlated with stunting in children in that country. The relevant documents, being a report by Dean Spears (How much international variation in child height can sanitation explain) and an article by Robert Chambers and Gregor von Medeazza (Sanitation and stunting in India: undernutrition’s blind spot) are a must-read for all WASH practitioners and child health specialists, and provide ammunition by the bucket load for advocates of better sanitation and hygiene.

One comment in the Chambers/von Medeazza paper, however, stirred up a problem that has been gnawing away at me for a while: “OD is particularly harmful where population density is high”. There is nothing surprising there, we would all agree. So, here is the troubling thought: you might think that the converse applies: perhaps OD is not especially harmful where population density is not particularly high? The situation where someone defecates in a remote field, in a very dry location, and buries the faeces under a desiccating sun is one that has probably occurred to all of us as being not hugely problematic, especially if that person has and uses an effective method of washing his/her hands quickly afterwards.

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Online Course “Governance in Urban Sanitation”

The Local Development Programme of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)  announces the next session of the e-learning course Governance in Urban Sanitation, to be conducted from 23 September to 29 November 2013.

The course aims to enhance the capacity of local decision-makers and sanitation professionals to make the most enlightened decisions and investments in the area of urban sanitation. Furthermore, it provides analytical tools to understand the financial and institutional framework of the sanitation sector, taking into account the needs of urban poor communities.

The course is composed of four modules:
Module 1: Introduction to Sanitation
Module 2: Economics, Pricing and Financing of the Sanitation Sector
Module 3: Institutional Aspects of the Sanitation Sector
Module 4: Sanitation and Poverty

This online course has been awarded with the International ECBCheck Quality Label for e-learning.

The course fee is USD 600 and UNITAR stresses that it does not provide any financial assistance.

Full information about the course is available at:
www.unitar.org/event/urbansanitation2013

Full-chain sanitation services that last

Full-Chain-Sanitation-cover2.6 billion people are waiting for a toilet and the faecal sludge of an additional 1.5 billion people never gets treated.  In the face of these indeed formidable challenges, the sanitation sector seems to have forgotten to celebrate the growing sense that we are getting a grip on how to tackle the problem of non-sewered sanitation.  A new IRC paper [1] is an invitation to everyone to contribute by commenting on the framework and by sharing lessons learnt.

The framework presented for non-sewered sanitation is based on a few key principles:

  • Sanitation is a public good and hence, national and local governments have a key responsibility to ensure that sanitation services that last are provided to all.
  • The parameters for a sustainable sanitation service need to be built around access and use; operation and maintenance and safe faecal sludge management.
  • The framework identifies political and individual commitment as a key condition for sustainable sanitation services.
  • In addition, a sanitation service contains the following components: the enabling environment, the creation of demand, the supply chains, and well aligned financial arrangements and incentives.
  • With increasing sanitation coverage, the focus of a sanitation service needs to shift from increasing access to and use of latrines (getting onto the sanitation ladder) to O&M and the safe disposal or productive uses of faecal sludge.

The framework serves as a starting point for the development of a functioning sanitation service.  However, the main argument of the framework is not towards a certain approach for demand creation or sanitation marketing but towards including and interlinking all four components and to consciously create political support for sanitation – creating a sustainable service that lasts.

We welcome your feedback and comments to further improve the framework and we are especially keen on learning from you how different components of sanitation framework can and are being operationalized and interlinked.

Most of all we want this framework to support the improvement of our collective impact so that the long wait for 1.6 billion can end.

Looking forward to hear from you,

Joep Verhagen

[1] Verhagen, J. and Carrasco, M., 2013. Full-chain sanitation services that last : non-sewered sanitation services. The Hague, The Netherlands: IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre. 14 p. : 2 boxes, 1 fig., 2 tab. 13 ref. Available at: <http://www.irc.nl/page/79976>

Latin American and Caribbean countries agree on joint sanitation monitoring

Sanitation in Guatemala. Photo: LatinoSan 2013

Delegates attending LatinoSan 2013 have agreed to set up a Latin-American and Caribbean Observatory on Sanitation. The observatory will monitor progress on sanitation in those countries that have signed up to the LatinoSan initiative. Sub-regional and national sanitation scorecards are already available online.

There will also be a Regional Meeting of Ministries of Sanitation every 2 years.

LatinoSan3-Declaration

These are two of  the commitments written up in the Panama Declaration at the conclusion of  the 3rd Latin American and Caribbean Sanitation Conference, LatinoSan 2013. The conference took place in Panama City from 29 to 31 May 2013.

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Sri Lanka: new partnership tackles fecal sludge management

Septage disposal. Sri Lanka/Nuwara Eliya sanitation project, 2008, Photo: Flickr/USAID.

An international research institute is helping the government of Sri Lanka to improve septage management in the country.

On 8 May 2013, the Colombo-based International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and the Ministry of Water Supply and Drainage signed a Memorandum of Understanding that provides a collaborative framework for sustainable septage management in Sri Lanka.

IWMI will contribute research data for the drafting of a septage management component of the national sanitation policy. The Ministry will lead implementation of the policy through an advisory committee headed by Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.

Only about 3% of Sri Lankans have a sewerage connection while the rest rely on latrines and septic tanks for sanitation. Safe disposal of septage (fecal sludge) is a problem because of a lack of treatment facilities in large parts of the country.

IWMI is studying a new approach in cities around the world, which treats the sludge so that it can be safely reused as agricultural fertiliser. With the rising costs of imported fertiliser, such an approach would not only benefit farmers but also allow better sanitation and environmental protection for all.

Related news:

  • The business of the honey-suckers in Bengaluru (India), E-Source, 27 Sep 2012
  • WASHplus Weekly: Focus on Fecal Sludge Management, Sanitation Updates, 30 Nov 2012

Related web sites:

 Source: IWMI, 8 May 2013

Latinosan Panamá 2013 – 3rd Latin American Sanitation Conference, 29-31 May 2013

The Republic of Panama is organizing the Third Latin American Sanitation Conference on 29-31 May 2013. The theme is:  “Universal Sanitation: New Challenges, New Opportunities”.

Latinosan is held every three years.

Latinosan 2013 consists of two events: a technical conference and a meeting of senior officials that will result in the Declaration of Panama.

Main topics:

  • the status of sanitation at regional and country levels
  • institutions and public policy
  • human rights and sustainable development
  • post-2015 goals: regional and global

For more information visit the conference website: latinosanpanama2013.com (Spanish only)

Sustaining sanitation – Pan European Networks interviews Joep Verhagen

Joep-Verhagen-PEN-interviewIn an interview with Pan European Networks, IRC Senior Sanitation Specialist Joep Verhagen explains how sanitation efforts need to begin to increase their focus on sustainability.

EU aid for water and sanitation hit a record €1.6bn in 2009, but in March 2012 the EU announced plans to redirect development to ‘the world’s neediest nations’ with fears that this could harm sanitation efforts in Latin America, Asia and possibly some sub-Saharan African countries. Joep Verhagen shares his thoughts on the EU plans and on how knowledge-sharing partnerships and research are helping to provide sustainable solutions to existing rural and urban sanitation problems.

Read the full interview