• Globally 2.4 billion people live without access to a basic sanitation service: almost 900 million of these people practice open defecation. Despite significant gains — over 2.1 billion people gained access to improved toilets or latrines since 1990 — sanitation was one of the most off-track Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) globally. Today, only 68% of the world’s population has access to basic sanitation, and only 39% of people have access to safely managed sanitation (which includes containment through safe collection, treatment, and end use/disposal). Further, 70% of people in Sub-Saharan Africa and 53% of people in South Asia still lack access to basic sanitation services (i.e., an improved toilet/latrine). The world missed the MDG target for sanitation by almost 700 million people.

    In addition to the challenges of providing many millions of rural households with adequate sanitation, the world continues to urbanize, and cities will increasingly bear the burden of poor sanitation — with an estimated 57% of urban dwellers lacking access to toilets that provide a full sanitation service, 16% of urban dwellers lacking access to basic sanitation services, and almost 100 million urban residents practicing open defecation.

    The benefits of tackling the challenges of sanitation are manifold. Improved sanitation leads to lower disease burden, improved nutrition, reduced stunting, improved quality of life, increased attendance of girls at school, healthier living environments, better environmental stewardship, increased job opportunities and wages, improved competitiveness of cities, and economic and social gains to society more broadly.

    Recent analysis shows that ending open defecation can save children’s lives by reducing disease transmission, stunting, and under-nutrition, which are important for childhood cognitive development and future economic productivity. Without adequate sanitation facilities, girls are more likely to drop out of school or are vulnerable to attacks while seeking privacy.

    Lack of sanitation also holds back economic growth. Poor sanitation costs billions to some countries, amounting to the equivalent of 6.3% of GDP in Bangladesh, 6.4% of GDP in India, 7.2% of GDP in Cambodia, 2.4% of GDP in Niger, and 3.9% of GDP in Pakistan annually. The economic losses are mainly driven by premature deaths, the cost of health care treatment, lost time and productivity seeking treatment, and lost time and productivity finding access to sanitation facilities. Pollution resulting from improper disposal and treatment of wastewater and domestic fecal sludge also affects both water resources and ecosystems. At the same time, fecal sludge and wastewater can provide valuable resources (water, nutrients, and energy) and economic opportunities, especially in urban areas and in water-scarce environments.

    Last Updated: Oct 31, 2017

  • The World Bank Group (WBG) has been addressing water and sanitation issues globally with large-scale finance and technical assistance to countries.

    With its impact on so many aspects of human and economic development, sanitation will be one of the key drivers to ending extreme poverty by 2030. For this, the World Bank Group is committed to using innovative approaches to meet the sanitation challenges of ending open defecation, improving service delivery, and closing the loop from the access to sanitation facilities to the sustainable disposal or reuse of wastewater and fecal sludge.

    To date, the World Bank has committed US$10 billion to sanitation and water services, which will reach 132 million people. Some examples and results of the Bank’s work to provide safely managed urban sanitation to our clients can be found here.

    Earlier work by the Bank on advocacy, innovative approaches, and policy dialogue, has led to large scale impact in rural and urban sanitation projects in countries such as India, Vietnam, Egypt, Mozambique, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Bolivia, and Ghana.

    The World Bank Group has also partnered with other core development partners in the sector to launch an initiative to encourage a radical shift in the way urban sanitation challenges are tackled in a rapidly urbanizing world. Citywide inclusive sanitation (CWIS) aims to ensure that: everyone benefits from adequate sanitation service delivery outcomes; human waste is safely managed along the whole sanitation service chain; effective resource recovery and re-use are considered; a diversity of technical solutions is embraced for adaptive, mixed, and incremental approaches; and onsite and sewered solutions are combined, in either centralized or decentralized systems, to better respond to the realities found in cities across the globe. CWIS further aims to help cities develop comprehensive approaches to sanitation improvement that encompass long-term planning, technical innovation, institutional reforms, and financial mobilization. Meanwhile, the provision of sustainable rural sanitation services requires differentiated approaches, including efforts on behavior change, on demand creation for sanitation and hygiene, on strengthening supply chains for sanitation products/services, on hygiene promotion, and on creating an enabling environment in government and with other key stakeholders to facilitate, promote, scale up, and learn from such approaches.

    Another tenet of the strategy to expand access to sanitation — in both urban and rural locations — is the recognition that private sector participation is essential to meet the needs of all citizens. To accelerate access to basic sanitation services for 2.4 billion people, and access to safely managed services for an additional 2.1 billion people, governments need to leverage the private sector’s professional capacity and investment. Partnering with the private sector can tap into its capacity to innovate new affordable and aspirational products for poorer households, strengthen distribution and supply chains, increase responsiveness to customer demand, and apply the best social and commercial marketing practices to change behavior, a particularly crucial consideration for sanitation. Private sector participation can also be tapped in the collection, conveyance, and proper disposal/reuse of fecal sludge and wastewater.

    Last Updated: Oct 31, 2017

  • By combining global knowledge with country investments, the World Bank Group generates more firepower for transformational solutions to help countries grow sustainably into the 21st century.

    Some examples of what we are doing to provide safely managed urban sanitation to our clients includes the Citywide Inclusive Sanitation initiative, incorporating a recent discussion and Call to Action at World Water Week in Stockholm with core development partners, including The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Emory University, Plan International, The University of Leeds, and WaterAid. Fecal sludge management (FSM) is now a more prominent part of our urban sanitation portfolio; we have FSM activities under implementation or planned in our projects in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia, among others. Furthermore, we have a US$68 million water project in Benin where the US$ 27.5 million urban sanitation component is fully focused on FSM.

    These following are some highlights from our work on sanitation:

    • In Egypt, the US$550 million Sustainable Rural Sanitation Services Program for Results (results based financing program) is enhancing access to sanitation services for 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. The Program aims at empowering local service delivery and connecting the rural and small town poor to working sanitation systems in the Delta governorates of Daqahliya, Sharqiya, and Beheira in Lower Egypt.
    • In Ghana, to tackle the challenges of sanitation in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA), the World Bank is supporting a multifaceted sanitation intervention. The 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, support to local private contractors to build their capacity to deliver toilets at larger scales, and other related initiatives.
    • In India, a US$1.5 billion World Bank Program for Results (results based financing program) loan is supporting the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission in its efforts to ensure that all citizens in rural areas have access to improved sanitation with the goal of ending the practice of open defecation in the country by 2019. The program incentivizes latrine and toilet construction through a focus on changing behaviors and stimulating demand.
    • In Mozambique, at the request of the Maputo Municipal Council, inclusive sanitation options have been identified for households not connected to the limited sewerage system. This pilot has led to a request for World Bank financing for a new urban sanitation project which will promote sustainable solutions to on-site and reticulated sanitation in cities throughout the country.

    Projects which similarly address the challenges of on-site sanitation at scale are either under implementation or preparation in Bangladesh, Benin, Tanzania, Indonesia, Bolivia, and Ethiopia, among other countries.

    • In Bangladesh, a sanitation micro-finance program has received much attention in the country and has led to a request from the Ministry of Finance for a US$30 million IDA project to scale up micro-finance for rural sanitation and water supply. Also in Bangladesh, the US$ 330 million Dhaka Sanitation Improvement Project is now under preparation which will address the challenges of urban sanitation through both reticulated and on-site solutions.

    Last Updated: Oct 31, 2017



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Contacts

For general inquiries, please contact:
World Bank Group Water Global Practice
worldbankwater@worldbank.org
For media inquiries, please contact:
Isabel Hagbrink
ihagbrink@worldbank.org