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March 2012

From the World Water Forum: Achieving Improved Sanitation at Scale

Jaehyang So's picture

The 6th World Water Forum was very intense and there is much to reflect on, but one memory stands out.

During the final two-hour session, Making Commitments and Mobilising Resources for Integrated Sanitation—Achieving  Improvements at Scale, eighteen speakers had just five minutes each to summarize our collective insights on working at scale.  Afterwards, Margaret Catley Carlson, former chair of the Global Water Partnership, expressed how happy she was with the summary. 

Global Sanitation Targets Risk Missing the Mark on Hygiene and Health Linkages

School children in Vietnam practice washing their hands with soap.UNICEF and WHO's recent report on Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation brought both good and bad news. The good news: 88% of the world’s population now has access to an improved drinking water source. The bad news: the world is still off-track to meet the Millennium Development Goal for sanitation. In this blog post published by the Center for Global Development, Victoria Fan, a research fellow at the Center for Global Development, and Claire Chase, an evaluation specialist with the Water and Sanitation Program, examine whether an increased focus on sanitation will ironically lead to further neglect of hygiene, and second, which sector should hold responsibility for scaling up access to sanitation.

From the World Water Forum: Water is a Human Right... Now What?

Glenn Pearce-Oroz's picture

The session on Human Right to Water has led to constructive debate and dialogue.  More interestingly, discussion on whether the human right to water implies providing water for free is no longer part of the mainstream debate. We have moved beyond this dichotomy and are now focused on figuring out how to make it work, while recognizing the costs involved. 

There were many take-away messages. We need to operationalize the definition of the human right to water,  develop more specific indicators and targets for each dimension that makes up the human right to water, and work to ensure that targets and indicators are relevant for different country contexts. Questions such as How affordable is affordable?, How safe is safe?, and How available is available? will differ between countries.

From the World Water Forum: Feeding Nine Billion People

Julia Bucknall's picture

In a session on water’s role in food security at the 6th World Water Forum in Marseille, the director of the Food and Agriculture Organization, Mr. Alexander Mueller, has just outlined water's role in meeting the world's food challenges in the most graphic way. By 2050, when the global population is expected to reach nine billion, the world will need to produce 60-70% more food to meet the needs of a larger number of people whose consumption patterns are influenced by higher incomes and increased urbanization. At current rates of water usage in agriculture, that would require an additional 5,500km2 of water. That would mean having to find the amount of water that is stored in Egypt’s Aswan Dam 55 times every year.

From the World Water Forum: Idea for a New Water Prize?

Michael Peter Steen Jacobsen's picture

At the World Water Forum in Marseille, I participated in a session on innovative ways to finance water for the poor. Most of the ideas proposed were good, including testing Output-Based Aid, improvements to the water tariff structure, and a sanitation fee on the water bill.Then the organizers asked for ideas and the discussion was opened for plenary...

From the World Water Forum: Twenty Years After Dublin, Paying for Water is Still Controversial

Michael Peter Steen Jacobsen's picture

In a session on Financing Water for All, Ian Banda, CEO of the Kafubu Water and Sewerage Company, said that poor people who are not connected to the network in the Copperbelt towns in Zambia pay their local vendor 10 to 12 times more for water than poor and rich people pay to the utility. Juergen, from the International Secretariat for Water, a Canadian NGO, found that charging for water is immoral.

Welcome to The Water Blog

Christopher Walsh's picture

Water is at the crux of several development challenges, from health impacts related to poor sanitation and drinking water, to food and energy shortages caused by poor water management. We’ve also heard leaders such as US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton describe water as a means for peace.

And investments in water are working. Last week, UNICEF and WHO announced that over 2 billion people gained access to safe drinking water between 1990 and 2010, meeting the Millennium Development Goal for increased access to water three years ahead of target. During this same timeframe, 1.8 billion people gained access to improved sanitation.