Theme

The 4.2 billion people in the world living without safely managed sanitation services often face many forms of discrimination. They can be left behind as they try to access and manage sanitation services or improve their current facilities.

Sustainable Development Goal 6 has a target to eliminate open defecation and ensure everyone has access to sustainable sanitation services by 2030, “paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations”.

World Toilet Day 2019 is drawing attention to those people being left behind without sanitation and the social, economic and environmental consequences of inaction.

A toilet is not just a toilet. It’s a life-saver, dignity-protector and opportunity-maker.

We must expand access to safe toilets and leave no one behind. Because whoever you are, wherever you are, sanitation is your human right.

Download the factsheet

Download a short explanation of the issues and key facts. Available in: Arabic, ChineseEnglish, French, Russian and Spanish.

Advocating sustainable sanitation

Advocating sustainable sanitation

UNU-FLORES has long been advocating for the safe use of wastewater, working together with local and international partners to address the sanitation problem around the world. The SludgeTec project, conducted in pilot regions in Guatemala and Mexico, is a leading example of how the co-design of sustainable wastewater treatment and management system options have improved solid waste management.
How much will ‘sanitation for all’ cost?

How much will ‘sanitation for all’ cost?

To achieve universal sanitation, as covered in SDG 6 target 6.2, one important piece of information to know is what expenditure is required to achieve it – how much is needed, where it is needed, and when it is needed.
As progress is made towards the SDG targets, new estimates are needed to assess what is the current funding gap and also to support advocacy efforts to fill the gap. 
This study by UNICEF’s Guy Hutton and water specialist Mili Varughese provides an update on the required expenditure to meet the 2030 global targets on household sanitation.
Sanitation success stories

Sanitation success stories

In this collection of stories from around the world, UNICEF shows that while the challenges are significant, meeting the goal of universal sanitation by 2030 is possible – with greater investment, sustained effort and increased rates of sanitation coverage. Many countries have made rapid progress in access to sanitation, transforming lives, the environment, and their economies, all within one generation. 
Read the stories here.
Regulating sanitation services as a public good

Regulating sanitation services as a public good

In this blog to accompany the launch of the State of the World’s Sanitation report, Yvonne Magawa (ESAWAS), Batsirai Majuru (WHO), Bisi Agberemi (UNICEF), Jan-Willem Rosenboom and Alyse Schrecongost (BMGF) make the case for sanitation as a public good. For too long, the authors say, sanitation, specifically on-site sanitation systems such as septic tanks and pit latrines, has been left in the realm of household responsibility. The article explores how robust regulatory systems can address the market failures of urban sanitation to protect public health and incentivize delivery of safe, inclusive, and viable services for all.

Read the article here.

Learning from history: Sanitation for prosperity

Learning from history: Sanitation for prosperity

In this blog to accompany the launch of the State of the World’s Sanitation report, Kelly Ann Naylor and Bruce Gordon, Heads of WASH for UNICEF and WHO respectively, make the point that no country has achieved high income status without first investing in sanitation. So, what can we learn from countries that could be called ‘sanitation champions’? Read the article to see how sanitation success can be accelerated and how the economic benefits far outweigh the costs

Living in a fragile world: The impact of climate change on the sanitation crisis

Living in a fragile world: The impact of climate change on the sanitation crisis

This new report from WaterAid, Living in a fragile world: The impact of climate change on the sanitation crisis, explores the devastating intersection of poor sanitation and the fragility of health services, all impacted by the unpredictable nature of the world’s changing climate. The report contains country case studies, stats on global access to sanitation and climate vulnerability and recommendations for action.

State of the World’s Sanitation report

State of the World’s Sanitation report

For the first time WHO and UNICEF bring together the data on sanitation coverage and investment, and how it impacts health, economies, and the environment. Citing evidence on what works from successful countries and global guidelines, WHO and UNICEF call for strong government leadership and investment in resilient sanitation services. The report charts an ambitious way forward following the SDG6 global acceleration framework themes of governance, financing, capacity development, data and information, and innovation to achieve universal access to safe sanitation.

The report State of the World’s Sanitation: An urgent call to transform sanitation for better health, environments, economies and societies, was launched on World Toilet Day and is available here.

 

 

Photo Credit: © UNICEF/UN0348942/Modola

Just launched: Connecting the Unconnected report

Just launched: Connecting the Unconnected report

There is a reoccurring challenge faced in cities around the world where, despite the immediate proximity of trunk sewerage infrastructure, too many households choose not to connect to the sewers for various social, economic or related reasons. In addition, service providers continue to focus their attention and their resources on the design and the construction of the trunk infrastructure, using approaches that don’t always meet the needs of burgeoning cities with their diverse socio-economic neighborhoods. The focus on infrastructure and not on connections affects access to sewerage services. So, even though progress has been made, challenges remain. For example, in Latin America and the Caribbean, even though about 170 million people were connected to sewerage systems in the last two decades, at least 28 percent of the region’s urban residents are still not connected to the sewer lines that run close to their houses.

The funds sunk into trunk sewerage infrastructure and the related wastewater treatment plants cannot realize the full public health and environmental benefits which they were designed to produce if all of the intended properties are not connected. And this means that the disease burden due to poor sanitation remains high and those not connected to sewerage or to another safely managed sanitation system are more likely to suffer from illnesses such as diarrhea and to lose days of work because of those illnesses.

A new World Bank report look at the reasons why so many households still get left behind and remain unconnected to existing or new sewer networks. Based on a review of good practices from around the world, the report outlines the considerations that should be made in developing a successful sewerage connection program. The report also provides an overview and lessons from global experiences in order to identify the elements that can help maximize connections to sewers, including for low-income households, while drawing on the principles of the Citywide Inclusive Sanitation approach.

The report CONNECTING THE UNCONNECTED: Approaches for Getting Households to Connect to Sewerage Networks, was launched on World Toilet Day.

The world can no longer under-prioritise sanitation, and this is why

The world can no longer under-prioritise sanitation, and this is why

In a new blog, Guy Hutton, Senior Adviser for water, sanitation and hygiene at UNICEF, explains that although, when summed together, the global costs of achieving universal safe sanitation seem like a gigantic amount, the price is in fact very reasonable, and indeed affordable.

Read the whole blog here.

 

Photo by UNICEF/Zishaan Akhbar Latif

COVID-19 and the human rights to water and sanitation

COVID-19 and the human rights to water and sanitation

The Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, together with 22 other mandate-holders, have made a joint statement underscoring the vital need to guarantee access to water and sanitation during the pandemic, particularly to those in the most vulnerable situations. 
“[O]ne way to prevent the spread of the virus is to practice proper personal hygiene by washing our hands using soap and water. ‘Washing hands frequently’ is a simple daily routine of many but it is a privilege and luxury for those who do not have adequate water and sanitation services and those who face the ironic decision of whether to drink water or use the water to wash their hands.
As human rights experts of the United Nations system, we take this occasion to appeal, once again, for the governments around the world to implement or reinstate the policy of prohibiting water cuts as well as other basic supplies and to guarantee a minimum level of water and essential basic supplies to those who face difficulties to pay for those services and supplies.”
Read the full statement here.
Photo by UNICEF/Manpreet Romana
Modernizing wastewater treatment in Sri Lanka

Modernizing wastewater treatment in Sri Lanka

Sewerage management is more than just ‘flushing it away’ – waste must be contained, treated and disposed of safely. In a blog by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Andreas Ulrich explains that in many countries ageing infrastructure and growing urban populations are creating mounting pressure on systems that in many cases were designed in the early twentieth century. In Sri Lanka a joint initiative between the Government, the World Bank and IWMI is aiming to formulate a pathway to sustainably improve wastewater treatment and subsequent resource recovery.

 

Read the full blog post here.

Colour my human rights to water and sanitation

Colour my human rights to water and sanitation

To celebrate the 10th birthday of the human rights to water and sanitation, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation has released two children’s storybooks, also available as colouring books. 
Children are encouraged to colour in pictures from the books, post them to social media and encourage their friends to do the same.
Parents and teachers can find the books and guidance on how to join in here.
IWRA webinar on Sustainable Sanitation and Climate Change

IWRA webinar on Sustainable Sanitation and Climate Change

This webinar, hosted by the International Water Resources Association (IWRA), will focus on this year’s World Toilet Day theme: sustainable sanitation and climate change.
Invited panellists will cover a range of topics, including:
  • Opportunities for sustainable sanitation in climate action – lessons from Africa, Asia and the Americas
  • Groundwater resources and climate change
  • The potential impact of water quality on the spread and control of COVID-19 in Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon
  • Bottom-up efforts to enforce the EU sanitation standards in Bulgaria
The webinar will take place on Thursday, 19 November 2020, from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm CET.
Register for free here.
Turning human waste into an economic resource

Turning human waste into an economic resource

An initiative in Ghana is focusing on sanitation processes ‘after the flush’ – turning human waste into an economic resource. The CapVal project is implementing several resource recovery and reuse solutions that have significant potential to incentivize more investments in sanitation planning and management in Ghana and beyond.

Read more here.

Catalysing citywide sanitation for all

Catalysing citywide sanitation for all

The need for sustainable, equitable and inclusive sanitation solutions in urban areas across the globe is greater than ever before, particularly in the wake of the global health crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic, amid rapid urbanisation and climate change effects.
With many countries and municipalities around the world already facing challenges in implementing Citywide Inclusive Sanitation (CWIS), the need for urgent actions and solutions is critical.
In this article from the International Water Association (IWA), three experts share their perspectives on how service regulators are shaping the urban sanitation landscape. 
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