SanitAction – a call to action on inclusive urban sanitation services

Sanitation project in Hyderabad / Warangal, India, courtesy ASCI

Sanitation project in Warangal City, India, courtesy ASCI

The International Water Association is launching a dedicated campaign – SanitAction – calling for collaborative action to reshape the global agenda on urban sanitation over the coming years.

Far too many people in towns and cities around the world still lack access to safely managed sanitation. SanitAction will raise awareness of the need for an accelerated and inclusive approach to expanding safe service coverage.

Importantly, such an approach means it is vital to look beyond technology and the usual focus on building infrastructure. Inclusivity requires a holistic approach that tackles wider issues, especially the factors that allow sanitation services of all kinds to be accessed, managed, and delivered sustainably over time.

A central goal of the SanitAction campaign is to ensure IWA’s initiative on inclusive urban sanitation engages a wide range of stakeholders, not least the public sector, operators, academics, regulators and other key actors. Supported by this input, the initiative will build on current approaches to progress a widely applicable framework that can support elaboration and exchange on actionable guidance, case studies and peer exchanges and so advance inclusive urban sanitation, especially in low- and middle-income countries.

Actions to support development of this framework will involve assessment of existing tools and frameworks, securing worldwide endorsement to advance inclusive urban sanitation, and building awareness and skills, especially in the public sector responsible for creating the enabling environment for sanitation.

An Advisory Board and Task Force will be created to provide guidance, feedback and direction on the initiative’s priorities, activities and performance.

IWA already promotes a comprehensive and integrated approach to managing water – one that envisages resilient and ‘water-wise’ cities. To help progress the SanitAction campaign and the actions on inclusive sanitation, IWA will leverage and build on the foundations and engagement secured in other recent global initiatives, particularly the IWA Principles for Water-Wise Cities, IWA’s Climate Smart Utilities initiative, and work on Regulating for Citywide Inclusive Sanitation.

IWA will support progress of the initiative by accelerating its own work to achieve a more inclusive and balanced IWA to ensure even fuller global representation, participation, and engagement.