SuSanA and IRC online thematic discussion: Sustainable urban sanitation – moving forward

We are happy to announce that IRC is holding a 2-week thematic discussion on the topic “Sustainable urban sanitation – moving forward” on the SuSanA online discussion Forum starting from today.

To view the discussion and post, visit:

SuSanA forum: http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/218-thematic-discussion-sustainable-urban-sanitation-moving-forward

The overall theme of this thematic discussion is how to move towards more sustainable urban sanitation. The idea is to initiate a discussion from the perspective of the whole sanitation chain and also the role (or lack of role) which local government has as leaders for change in sanitation. The discussion would focus on case study examples which have worked but also those that have not worked and how these could have been improved given the chance with a focus on the whole sanitation chain. Guiding questions by the thematic experts will help to structure the discussion throughout this e-debate.

Theme 1 (October 13-19): Lack of attention to the whole sanitation chain: Why is there a lack of attention to the whole sanitation chain? Given that sanitation is more than building a toilet and includes changed hygienic behaviours, maintenance, emptying, treatment and disposal or reuse of accumulated faecal matter, why are so many programmes and project still only looking at one possible two sides of this multi-sided chain?

Theme 2 (October 20-23): Lack of leadership for change around sanitation: Sanitation improvements are not the sole responsibility of one entity but is shared between households, private service providers (latrine builders, emptying companies) and/or various line ministries (Min. of Health, Education, Infrastructure, Environment). How can we create a sanitation sector that is more coordinated and aligned with the many players as well providing a supportive and regulatory function? The latter is typically the responsibility of national and local governments. However, in many countries, either there is not a unique institution with the overall responsibility for sanitation, or this designated institution is weak and is not able to lead the sector towards change. Is there a means of creating more substantive governmental leadership in this area for better coordination and harmonisation in the sanitation sector?

The first theme has started today by Cor Dietvorst explainingWhat are we talking about? Systemic change is change that encompasses all parts of a system, taking into account the interrelationships and interdependencies among those parts whereas piecemeal change focuses on one or several parts of a system and thereby addresses only pieces of the urban sanitation problem.”

And asking:

1.What are your views on using the systemic change approach for addressing the (urban) sanitation challenges?

  1. Is it justifiable to continue focusing on onsite containment of human faeces and thereby ignoring all the other links of the sanitation chain? 
  2. How can we balance the need for systemic long-time change with addressing some of the immediate urgent needs?

We warmly invite you to engage with us in the discussion. Experts from the sector will be providing their input and respond to your questions:

  • Erick Baetings (Senior sanitation expert, IRC)
  • Marielle Snel (Senior expert, IRC)
  • Cor Dietvorst (Programme officer, IRC)

BACKGROUND

This discussion is the third in a series of events on urban sanitation co-hosted by IRC. The first in the series was the thematic discussion “Urban Sanitation Finance – From Macro to Micro Level” in June, followed by a Round Table Discussion on Urban Sanitation in line with ULCTS in July and the IRC Event “Working towards sustainable urban sanitation” held in September. Recommended background readings for the discussion are provided here

We look forward to hearing your contributions on this discussion!

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