Participants at the IRC Monitoring Sustainable WASH Service Delivery symposium, Addis Ababa, April 2013. Photo: Ermias Woldeamlak
Governments are not only investing more in national monitoring systems, but their leadership in country monitoring is also now generally accepted. With this acceptance, however, come expectations about good governance and transparency. Monitoring is politics: agendas and power influence what is monitored and how the results are used. National systems, too, go beyond WASH sector monitoring and should include data from donors and NGOs as well.
Photo: IRC/Petra Brussee
These are some of the conclusions we can draw from a symposium attended by over 400 participants from UN agencies, government, donors, NGOs and research institutes. Hosted by the Government of Ethiopia and organised by IRC and its partners, the Monitoring Sustainable WASH Service Delivery symposium was held from 9 to 11 April 2013 in Addis Ababa.
Symposium presentations and discussions focussed on six main themes: monitoring finance, government-led and country-wide monitoring, project monitoring, ICT for monitoring, monitoring sanitation & hygiene, and global-regional-national WASH monitoring.
The objective of this high-level summit is to take stock of the various developments, in and outside the UN system, in preparing water-related goals for the post Rio+20 development agenda. The expected outcome is one overarching SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on water and sanitation that corresponds and responds to multidimensional challenges.
Confirmed speakers include Hungarian President Mr János Áder, UN Secretary General Mr Ban Ki-moon, the heads of OECD, UNEP, UNIDO, WMO, WHO, UNDP and FAO, Prof. Jamie Bartram, Ms Catarina de Albuquerque, Andris Piebalgs, Prof. John Briscoe and Julia Bucknall.
Organised by: Government of Hungary in collaboration with the World Water Council and UNESCO
Theme: The Role of Water and Sanitation in the Global Sustainable Development Agenda
In recent years many more people have gained access to an improved water supply; unfortunately access to sanitary facilities is still lagging behind. One of the biggest challenges is how to sustain these newly built water facilities and make sure that people have continuous and reliable access to a supply of good quality water in sufficient quantities.
Much is needed to sustain water and sanitation services—from support to communities after construction of facilities; to improved regulation; to financing of all costs including those for support and replacement; to strengthening the capacities of local authorities; to activating supply chains; and to monitoring.
Monitoring is a critical building block for sustaining water and sanitation services. Which water and sanitation system are exactly out there? What is the status of these systems? Are they functional? Do they provide safe quality water? Are the cues and waiting times not too long? Knowing is necessary for correcting, adapting, and planning for sustainable WASH service delivery.
There is momentum to improve monitoring systems. Momentum because sustaining services is now more important than ever. Momentum because the international community is preparing indicators for the post-2015 development goals including those for water, sanitation and hygiene. Momentum because new Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) offer opportunities for faster and more efficient monitoring.
The Monitoring Sustainable WASH Service Delivery Symposium builds on this momentum and provides a platform for gaining knowledge and discussing the challenges for improved monitoring. It presents the latest thinking and experiences in monitoring from all over the world. It discusses how country-led monitoring could be strengthened. It discusses the need and possibilities for alignment of national and global monitoring systems and of project and country led monitoring systems. It provides an opportunity to sector experts to engage with new technologies for data collection and with examples of how monitoring resulted in sustainable water and sanitation service delivery.
The symposium will be attended by some 380 WASH sector experts from all over the world.
The symposium is hosted by the Ministry of Water and Energy and the Ministry of Health of the Government of Ethiopia; it is organised by IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre in partnership with: the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), WaterAid, Water and Sanitation for Africa (WSA), the Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN), the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) and Water For People.
The symposium will be preceded by a seminar on Monday 8 April, “National WASH Inventory in Ethiopia: lessons learned and maximising value”. 150 Ethiopia water and sanitation experts will attend the seminar.
Posted in Campaigns & events, Information and communication, Monitoring & evaluation, Sanitation, Water supply
Tagged AMCOW, Ethiopia, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, Rural Water Supply Network, Water and Sanitation for Africa, Water for People, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, WaterAid
The first up and running European Citizens Initiative (ECI) ‘Water is a Human
Right’ made history as also being the first ECI in the history of the European Union to have collected over 1 million signatures. The water initiative aims to get the European Commission to propose legislation on the human right to water covering the following three issues:
- guaranteed access to water and sanitation services for all EU citizens, including the 2 million currently without access and those threatened with disconnection because they can’t afford to pay their bills
- no liberalisation of water and sanitation services
- more European action to ensure that everyone in the world can enjoy the human right to water and sanitation
While the one million signatures are enough to get the proposals on the European political agenda, a further requirement is to reach a minimum number of signatures in at least seven EU countries. Up to 12 March, five countries have met this requirement: Austria, Belgium, Germany, Slovakia and Slovenia. The organisers have collected 1.35 million signatures so far, and aim to get 2 million signatures by September 2013
The organisations behind the water is a human right campaign include the following trade unions and NGOs:
- Aqua Publica Europea
- European Anti Poverty Network (EAPN)
- European Environmental Bureau (EEB)
- European Public Health Alliance (EPHA)
- European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU)
- European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)
- Public Services International (PSI)
- Social Platform and
- Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF).
The ECI is the first transnational instrument of participatory democracy in world history. It is considered to be one of the major innovations of the Treaty of Lisbon.
Watch the campaign video.
Source: EPSU, 11 Feb 2013 ; EurActiv, 12 Feb 2013 ; right2water, 07 Mar 2013
Researchers from the University of North Carolina (UNC) estimate that the number of people without safe water and sanitation is much higher than previously thought. If you add actual service levels and the unreliability of some of the data to the equation the picture may be even bleaker.
Dr. Jamie Bartram
Jamie Bartram’s team from UNC’s Water Institute calculated that 1.8 billion people (28% of the global population) used unsafe water in 2010  and that 4.1 billion (60% of the global population ) lacked access to improved sanitation . The corresponding official United Nations (UN) estimates are 783 million and 1.2 billion respectively.
The UN estimates are taken from the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) . The JMP definition of safe water is linked to the use of improved drinking-water sources. In their definition of safe water, Bartram’s team also looks at the water quality and sanitary risk of the improved sources. For their calculations, they modelled and extrapolated data from a WHO/UNICEF study on the Rapid Assessment of Drinking-Water Quality (RADWQ) in 5 countries.
The Thematic Consultation on Water (the water consultation) in the post-2015 development agenda is now open for inputs on the www.worldwewant2015.org/water website.
The water consultation is part of the UN-system led “global dialogue” comprising of 50 – 100 Country Consultations and eleven global Thematic Consultations, among them the one on water. It is co-led by UN-Water, UNDESA and UNICEF.
Another, but more technical consultation process started in 2011 to develop target and indicator proposals for post-2015 global monitoring of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). Leader of this technical consultation is the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation (JMP).
The water consultation aims to contribute to a shared vision on key future challenges in water and a new global water goal in the post-2015 development agenda.
Participants can engage directly on the web (www.worldwewant2015.org/water), via Twitter @WaterPost2015 using the hashtag #waterpost2015 and on the Facebook page WaterPost2015.
The water consultation is divided into two parts: a global water consultation (21 November 2012 – 3 March 2013) and thematic sub-consultations on WASH, water resources, waste water management and water quality (mid-January – 3 March 2013). The final outcome in the form of policy recommendations will be transmitted to the High-level Panel on Post-2015 appointed by the UN Secretary General at the end of March 2013.
For more information read the full announcement and a one pager on how to engage.
Related web sites:
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has chosen the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) to lead a new sanitation learning and sharing platform.
The Gates Foundation’s Sanitation Science and Technology Programme has over 80 projects. SEI and SuSanA have been tasked to share the results from these projects in an open public forum engaging a broad range of experts and the general public.
Over the next 15 months SEI will work with the Programme Grantees of the Foundation in order to broaden understanding and discussion about their work. The grantees will be encouraged to work through SuSanA that has about 200 institutional members and some 2000 discussants on its Discussion Forum (www.forum.susana.org).
In August 2012, the Foundation gave a grant to the Water and Sanitation for Africa (WSA) to set up the Africa Sanitation Think Tank (ASTT).
Related web sites:
Source: SEI, 09 Nov 2012
One of the most quoted WASH statistics was recently “downgraded”. For every $1 invested in water and sanitation, not $8 but “only” $4 is returned in economic returns through increased productivity. This recalculation , says the World Health Organization, is mainly a result of higher investment cost estimates and the more complete inclusion of operation and maintenance (O&M) costs.
Providing a better insight into O&M costs has been one of the achievements of the WASHCost project of the IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre. WASHCost has published minimum benchmarks for costing sustainable basic WASH services in developing countries . The project collected data from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Andhra Pradesh (India) and Mozambique.
The main message is that spending less than the minimum benchmarks will result in a higher risk of reduced service levels or long-term failure. NGOs claiming that “US$20 can provide clean water for one person for 20 years” have clearly forgotten to include annual recurrent costs for operation and maintenance, capital maintenance and direct support.
The real cost for 20 years of basic water supply from a borehole and handpump would be, per person, between US$ 20 and US$ 61 for construction plus US$ 3-6 every year to keep it working. In total for the 20 years this would amount to US$ 80 to US$ 181 per person.
Similarly, for the most basic sanitation service, a traditional pit latrine, the combined costs would be US$ 37 – 106 per person over 20 years.
Posted in Financing, Publications, Sanitation, Statistics, Sustainable services, Water supply
Tagged cost-benefit analysis, handwashing, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, life-cycle costs, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, source_publish, WASHCost, Water and Sanitation Program, World Health Organization
John Kluge. Photo: EastWest Institute
The number of US philanthropists with a passion for sanitation has now doubled. Following in the footsteps of Bill Gates who launched Reinventing the Toilet, “Chief Toilet Hacker” John Kluge aims to provide 1 million toilets in the developing world. To kick-start this endeavour, Eirene, a company that Kluge co-founded with fellow toilet hacker, Michael TS Lindenmayer, is launching a global Sanitation Hackathon in December 2012.
For the Sanitation Hackathon, Eirene is teaming up with the World Bank’s Water Practice and ICT unit and the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP), which hosted the successful Water Hackathon in October 2011. Other partners supporting this initiative include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Gensler, IDEO.org and Columbia University.
At least 1,000 toilet hackers from across 9 countries are expected to join in.
We have dug into the problem at the most local level and have asked some of the greatest global minds to also tackle the issue as well. These toilet hackers come from all kinds of backgrounds. Engineers, material scientists all the way to street artists, micro-entrepreneurs and inventors of all stripes are all becoming toilet hackers
Forbes has identified John Kluge (29) as one of “philanthropy’s up-and-coming faces”. He is the adopted son of John Kluge Sr., “once the richest man in America, and is is committed to ensuring 95% of his late father’s assets go towards philanthropy”. His company Eirene focuses on tackling problems like sanitation that affect at least 1 billion people. Kluge is also a resident fellow at the EastWest Institute and a memnber of UNICEF USA’s Next Generation Steering Committee.
Follow John Kluge on Twitter @klugesan and the Sanitation Hackathon with the Twitter hashtags #toilethacker and #sanhack
Source: John Kluge, Hacking Toilets the World Over, Huffington Post, 25 Sep 2012 ; Forbes 400 Richest Americans – Ones to Watch – John Kluge
In a statement issued on 27 June 2012, the UK Government officially recognises sanitation as a human right under international law. However, in their interpretation of this right, the government excludes “the collection and transport of human waste”. It also does not accept, in their entirety, specific U.N. documents on the right to water and sanitation.
The UK had originally abstained from voting on the resolution on the right to water and sanitation at the UN General Assembly in 2010. It stated then that it did not believe that there was a sufficient legal basis under international law to declare sanitation as a human right.
Facing growing international pressure by NGOs and UN Special Rapporteur Catarina de Albuquerque, the UK announced on 15 June 2012 that it would support the inclusion of commitments to the right both to safe drinking water and to sanitation as a human right in the Rio+20 outcome document.
What the implications are of the UK’s interpretation of the right to sanitation is unclear. Maybe the government should send their legal advisers to a slum during the rainy season to see what happens when there is no adequate collection and transport of human waste.
- Rio+20: Canada finally recognises human right to water and sanitation, E-Source, 13 Jun 2012
- Right to water and sanitation: finally declared legally binding in international law, E-Source, 19 Oct 2010
Related web sites:
- UK recognises right to sanitation, UK FCO, 27 Jun 2012
- Isabella Montgomery, UK Government supports right to sanitation inclusion at Rio+20, FAN, Jun 2012