Climate Resilient Sanitation at the Uganda Water & Environment Week

The 6th Uganda Water and Environment Week (UWEWK23), a flagship event organised annually by the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE) through the Water Resources Institute (WRI) took place as a hybrid event from 12 – 17 March 2023 in Kampala, Uganda under the theme: “Water and environment for climate-resilient development”.  The event attracted 2,189 participants.

IWA had a strategic presence at the UWEWK23. IWA’s Executive Director, Kalanithy Vairavamoorthy gave a keynote speech during the opening ceremony, while  Programme Lead for IWA’s Inclusive Urban Sanitation (IUS) Initiative, Suresh Kumar Rohilla participated in a high-level dialogue session during a plenary on “Climate resilient communities, ecosystems, and infrastructure”.

Through IWA’s IUS Initiative, two strategic workshops were held in collaboration with the Ministry of Water & Environment, Deutsche Gesellschaft für International Zusammenarbeit – GIZ Sanitation for Millions, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), and UNICEF.

From the workshop on “Approaches to Scaling up Inclusive and Climate-resilient Sanitation Services”, it was evident that a systems-strengthening approach is needed to accelerate the scale-up of inclusive and sustainable sanitation services whilst sanitation needs to be ‘deliberately’ included in the climate change agenda – in both policy and practice.

“Sanitation must be seen as a catalyst for climate action and sustainable development, not as an obstacle” – Dr Arne Panersar, GIZ

This workshop attracted about 47 online and 20 in-person participants. In addition, 4 case stories from Uganda were also launched. These stories aim to inspire urban stakeholders to discuss ways for advancing inclusive urban sanitation, especially in low- and middle-income countries.

The workshop titled To be or not to be – the dilemma of household incentives for scaling up safely managed sanitation” equally attracted approximately 50 online and 40 in-person participants. The key takeaway from this workshop was that subsidies are crucial for scaling up safely managed sanitation. However, to ensure inclusivity and sustainability, they need to be institutionalized with the government taking lead in designing appropriate policies, implementation, and enforcement of subsidies across the value chain. Conclusively, it was clear that these conversations need to continue at national, regional, and global levels to enhance learning and the wide adoption of best practices.

#SanitAction – promoting inclusivity for resilient, water-wise, and sanitation-secure cities