BEIJING, November 6, 2018 – The World Bank Group and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have committed to work together to unlock at least $1billion in investments in innovative sanitation solutions to help address the urgent challenge of 2.6 billion people around the world living without access to sanitation services.
Announced today at the Reinvented Toilet Expo in Beijing, the Urban Sanitation Innovation Partnership aims to speed up 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 Group and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to ‘Citywide Inclusive Sanitation’, which promotes innovations in urban sanitation delivery through a mix of service delivery solutions – with a focus on poor households. It also leverages the World Bank Group’s work in developing countries to improve policy and investment environments for more and better sanitation infrastructure and technology-driven solutions.
Over the next two years alone, this partnership is expected to help improve the lives of millions of people through access to innovative sanitation services. Currently, 1.6 million people die each year from diseases related to poor sanitation and hygiene. And of the 8.9 percent of deaths of children under five due to diarrhea each year – more than half are caused by poor sanitation.
“Healthier children become healthier adults, who then reach their full potential and contribute more to economies and societies. That principle is at the core of the World Bank Group’s Human Capital Project,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. “We cannot achieve our goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity unless everyone has a chance to lead healthy lives – and that means sustainable and safe sanitation. With this partnership, we hope to catalyze funding and creative ideas from both the public and private sectors to solve the challenges of sanitation everywhere in the world.”
At the Summit in Beijing, Dr. Kim and Bill Gates highlighted the importance of new and disruptive thinking around sanitation as well as the need to work faster and at scale.
“This Expo showcases, for the first time, radically new, decentralized sanitation technologies and products that are business-ready,” said Bill Gates during the opening plenary of the Reinvented Toilet Expo. “But it’s not enough for companies to be interested in making and selling new products. It’s also important for national and local governments to create an enabling environment with policies and regulations that encourage innovative sanitation service models, including with the private sector.”
“We’re committed to working together to ensure that everyone has access to safe and effective sanitation services, including using new technologies that have emerged in recent years,” Dr. Kim said. “What the Gates team brings in technological innovation and disruptive thinking, the World Bank Group can help scale up through our financing and support to improve policy environments and business models.”
The World Bank Group has been working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the past two and a half years to encourage a radical shift in the way urban sanitation challenges are tackled in a rapidly urbanizing world. In the past 25 years, the World Bank Group has committed over $10 billion to sanitation and water services, reaching millions of people in developing countries.
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