There are dozens of important subjects related to water supply and sanitation, and hundreds of organisations working on them. However, the Collaborative Council believes that we must concentrate our energy and attention on a small number of priority issues; the four most important such subjects are described below.
PRIORITIES IN WATER SUPPLY AND SANITATION (IAP)
One obviously important aim is to maintain progress in extending water supply to people currently unserved, and that aim underlies and complements these four priority issues. We acknowledge that other subjects may be important in particular places or to particular organisations, but we believe that the four priorities listed here are of global importance to everybody working in water supply and sanitation.
The hygiene component of the water supply and sanitation sector remains barely visible, although evidence shows that it can have a huge impact on health. Consequently, at national and international level, we must allocate institutional responsibility for hygiene promotion, provide vision, leadership and policy and raise its prestige. There are many individual experiences of good practice, and now we need to systematically capture, review and disseminate information for scaling up successful approaches. Our advocacy for hygiene promotion must highlight favorable progress in hygiene promotion and its impact.
- Review national policies on hygiene promotion
- Review courses and training materials on hygiene promotion, with close involvement of Southern universities / training institutions
- Create and deploy a specialist hygiene promotion cadre
- Replicate successful initiatives in school sanitation/hygiene promotion and document the results
- Start global and local initiatives on hygiene promotion in partnership with private sector (e.g the soap industry)
- Analyse the costs and benefits of hygiene promotion programmes
- Establish monitoring systems for hygiene behaviours
- Campaign for better balanced resource allocations between water supply, sanitation and hygiene promotion.
- Develop a global scholarship fund for professionals
This topic is closely linked with hygiene promotion, but the Collaborative Council feels strongly that both subjects are priorities and should not just be put together into one. Increasing access to safe sanitation is one of the core points of Vision 21. It is singled out for special focus in the IAP partly because of the pioneering work undertaken by the Collaborative Council`s Environmental Sanitation Working Group. That work has shown that we need to change our basic thinking and perceptions about sanitation and waste, engage all stakeholders in the development of poverty-focused environmentally sound approaches, and concentrate especially on the problems of urban sanitation. We also need to work harder to set national policies and strategies for environmental sanitation and hygiene, and to disseminate existing information.
- Adopt and implement the Household-Centred Environmental Sanitation (HCES) approach (as described in the “Bellagio Principles”, agreed at the Collaborative Council`s Workshop on Environmental Sanitation in the 21st Century, Bellagio, February 2000)
- Develop guidelines for application of the HCES approach
- Review existing technologies, and prepare case studies and demonstration projects in the context of the HCES approach
- Make special efforts in urban sanitation
- Analyse and document experiences with national sanitation policies that enable scaling up of sanitation and draw out lessons for dissemination
- Replicate the philosophy developed in Gujarat, India, for implementing VISION 21, which focuses strongly on hygiene and sanitation
- Further develop the concept of waste as a resource.
Institutional and Management Reform
In many instances, particularly in the urban sector, existing institutional frameworks and management arrangements for water supply and sanitation are not appropriate for realisation of our goals. Powerful vested interests may oppose change. Even where supportive policies are in place, execution is hindered by a lack of effective legal frameworks, implementing strategies and resources. We must reform these arrangements, building on the work of the Collaborative Council`s Working Group on Institutional and Management Options and others.
- Reform institutional arrangements to improve water supply and sanitation services to poor and unserved people
- Pay special attention to the institutional arrangements in urban areas
- Acknowledge and encourage the involvement of all types of stakeholders, including the private sector
- Specifically promote new institutional arrangements to improve sanitation services
- Promote effective legal frameworks to govern the new arrangements
- Develop guidelines to ensure that poor people actually benefit from the new arrangements
- Promote and adopt the Code of Ethics
- Promote the rights of the consumers in developing water supply and sanitation services.
At the heart of Vision 21 and the IAP is a commitment to building on people`s energy and creativity. This implies the development of community-based approaches to water supply and sanitation in both urban and rural areas, in which householders and communities take the important decisions and actions. A variety of social-marketing and participatory approaches have been developed, both within the water supply and sanitation sector and more broadly in the health and other development sectors. We now need to incorporate them into work programmes and implement them on a larger scale.
- Recognise the rights, responsibilities and roles of the people themselves to plan, implement and maintain their water supply and sanitation services
- Encourage and support the people to be active proponents of change rather than passive recipients of aid
- Adopt social marketing methods, which are especially relevant to hygiene promotion and sanitation
- Incorporate participatory concepts and approaches into all our work programmes
- Promote community-based approaches in urban areas
- Identify and document good examples of community-based approaches.