As strange as it may seem, one of the first steps on the ladder of opportunity is a toilet. That’s because improved sanitation helps improve quality of life, offers healthier living environments leading to more attractive and competitive cities, and to economic and social gains for society more broadly. So, World Toilet Day is an apt time to recognize that proper sanitation is key to building thriving and healthy cities.
This is particularly important because over half of the world’s population is now urban, representing some 3.9 billion people, and by the end of the next decade, 60% of humanity will live in cities. Today, nearly one billion people live in urban slums with poor or no sanitation. More than half of those living in urban areas do not have toilets which provide a full sanitation service —that is containment, collection, conveyance, treatment, and disposal/reuse. Additionally, 16% of urban dwellers do not even have a basic sanitation service.
The Sustainable Development Goals provide new impetus for cities to be inclusive, safe, and resilient, to ensure citizens’ health and wellbeing, and to provide access to sustainable water and sanitation services.
The World Bank has an essential role to play in this, by supporting our client countries in their efforts to provide their citizens with sanitation. However, we have also learned that there is no single, simple solution to the urban sanitation problem. We need locally relevant, innovative responses that consider the whole sanitation service chain. These solutions must put customers first and focus just as much on service management as on technology.
The following videos highlight some good practices in ‘Citywide Inclusive Sanitation’ from around the world, offering lessons and insights, and providing creative approaches as examples to other cities and to development professionals. Have a look, and spread the word with #InclusiveSanitation!