The WSSCC commissioned an independent study, which finds that disadvantaged individuals, including those with mental health and addiction issues, sex workers, and people with disabilities, lack equitable access to sanitation services.
The UN released a series of videos to promote awareness of the human right to water and sanitation.
The World Bank, with other development agencies, issued a call for city-wide inclusive sanitation.
September 2017: A Water Supply Sanitation and Collaborative Council (WSSCC) independent study has found that disadvantaged individuals, including those with mental health and addiction issues, sex workers, and people with disabilities, lack equitable access to sanitation services. In parallel, the UN has released a series of videos to promote awareness of the human right to water and sanitation, while the World Bank and other development agencies have issued a joint call for city-wide inclusive sanitation.
The WSSCC study was based on a document review and assessment of WSSCC programmes in six countries – Ethiopia, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo. The authors state that their assessment is the first to consider equity and inclusion issues at such a scale, although other agencies have previously addressed specific elements of equity and inclusion. Their study, titled ‘Scoping and Diagnosis of the Global Sanitation Fund’s Approach to Equality and Non-Discrimination (EQND),’ found that people with disabilities and the “ultra-poor” still face barriers to sanitation access. Some families that were pressured to build their own latrines had sold land and livestock to do so, and some had permanently lost assets as a result of policy pressure to declare certain areas open defecation-free (ODF).
The authors of the study recommend adapting programmes to ensure that the needs of disadvantaged individuals are addressed. Their study features simple adaptations that persons with disabilities have made to improve their own access to latrines, such as guide ropes, raised seating, and ramps. They also propose that monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) in this area will help improve equality and non-discrimination. The authors note the strong focus on universal access in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly in target 6.2 on sanitation. They emphasize that this can only be achieved if EQND is measured through indicators such as the extent to which women, girls, the elderly and people with disabilities indicate satisfaction with their sanitation and hygiene facilities.
Other recent research has focused on the situation in various countries. In Ecuador, a World Bank study titled, ‘Pipe(d) dreams: water supply, sanitation and hygiene progress and remaining challenges in Ecuador,’ summarizes existing research on the extent and quality of WASH services, disaggregated by income and location. The study identifies constraints on improving services to the rural population, and proposes relaxing the conditions under which investment in rural water supply and sanitation infrastructure can be made.
In Uzbekistan, a country where less than half the population has access to good quality drinking water, and fewer than one in five urban households receive water around the clock, the Bank is supporting the Syr Darya Water Supply Project, which provides access to safe drinking water for around 280,000 people.
The agencies call for a “radical shift in mindsets and practices” on urban sanitation.
The World Bank and other development agencies have issued a call to action toward city-wide inclusive sanitation. With the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, WaterAid, Plan International, Emory University and the University of Leeds, the World Bank highlights that the SDGs provide new impetus to ensure access to sustainable water and sanitation services. The agencies call for a “radical shift in mindsets and practices” on urban sanitation, noting that sanitation services must be connected to adequate treatment facilities. They call for action on four interlinked areas: prioritizing the human right to sanitation; delivering “safe management” along the whole sanitation service chain; recognizing that sanitation contributes to a thriving urban economy; and committing to working in partnership to deliver citywide inclusive sanitation.
Léo Heller, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights to water and sanitation, has launched a series of videos explaining the integration of human rights in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the mandate attached to his role, and the nature of these rights. The four videos in the series are available in English, Spanish and Portuguese. [WSSCC Web Page on Research Study] [WSSCC Report Links] [Full Text: Scoping and Diagnosis of the Global Sanitation Fund’s Approach to Equality and Non-Discrimination] [Full Text: Pipe(d) Dreams: Water Supply, Sanitation, Hygiene Progress and Remaining Challenges in Ecuador] [World Bank Press Release on the Uzbekistan Project] [Joint Agencies’ Call to Action] [UN Web Page on Human Rights Videos]