So, what can we do to help make “sanitation for all” a reality?
“Business as usual” in sanitation, in which we only focus on conventional sewerage networks and wastewater treatment plants for the formal areas of cities, will not allow us to reach the SDG sanitation targets. We need to shift mindsets in order to embrace approaches in which everybody benefits from adequate service delivery outcomes, where human waste is safely managed along the whole sanitation service chain, effective resource recovery and re-use are considered, a diversity of technical solutions are embraced, combining both onsite sanitation and sewerage solutions, and new and creative ways of funding sanitation are identified – all to help better respond to the realities faced in cities around the world. Furthermore, we need to realize that good sanitation systems are assets which can also create jobs, generate electricity, capture methane, and produce valuable fertilizers for our crops.
We need to promote and scale up innovative approaches to service delivery and to financing models, as demonstrated in the following examples from World Bank operations.
● In Ethiopia, a USD $500 million project covering 23 cities is supporting a mix of sewered and onsite solutions, exploring new ways of engaging the private sector, and aiming to expand sanitation services to an additional 2.5 million people.
● In China, under the Nanning Urban Environment Project, all the sludge produced by the wastewater treatment plants is treated in an innovative facility that produces fertilizer for local use in forests, eucalyptus farming and as a soil improvement agent.
● In Egypt, the US$550 million Sustainable Rural Sanitation Services Program for Results (results based financing program) is enhancing access to sanitation services for 1.7 million poor people in small towns and creating channels for citizens to engage with their service providers while addressing the pollution of the Nile from untreated sewage.
● In Ghana, a multifaceted sanitation intervention is tackling the challenges of sanitation in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area. This project includes subsidies for poor households to buy toilet facilities, construction of a new fecal sludge treatment plant, engagement with private sector financial institutions to encourage creation of loan products for household sanitation, sanitation marketing, mobile money platforms for households to save towards the cost of a toilet, and support to local private contractors to build their capacity to deliver toilets at larger scales.
At the World Bank, we have also made it a priority to learn from innovators and service providers in the urban sanitation sector by spreading good practices from one side of the world to the other. To advance the sanitation agenda, we are working closely with key development partners, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As announced on November 6 by President Jim Kim during the Reinvented Toilet Expo in Beijing, a new partnership with the Gates Foundation, the ”Urban Sanitation Innovation Partnership” aims to accelerate the adoption of innovative technologies and approaches so that everyone has access to safely managed and affordable sanitation services.
This new partnership builds on commitments from the World Bank , the Gates Foundation and other key development partners to support ”Citywide Inclusive Sanitation " which promotes innovations in urban sanitation through a mix of service delivery solutions and improvements in the enabling environment – with a focus on services for poor households.
So, on November 19, spare a thought for the millions around the world who lack this most basic of services; think about the negative impact this ongoing sanitation crisis is having on public health, on human capital, on the environment and, ultimately, on the economy; and join us in creating a world where everyone has access to safely managed sanitation!
- Follow @WorldBankWater via #WorldToiletDay and #InclusiveSanitation
- Join a live discussion on www.facebook.com/worldbank with Bill Kingdom, Lead Water Supply & Sanitation Specialist, and Ndeye Awa Diagne, a Young Professional with the World Bank’s sanitation team, who will be talking about their passion for toilets.
- Watch and share a series of video messages in various languages from our staff around the world about why sanitation matters.