Leaders Attend Sustainability Forum Focused on Tools for Lasting Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Services
AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS, July 9, 2014 /3BL Media/ – Last week, representatives from local and national governments, multilateral organizations such as the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program and UNICEF, corporations, foundations, NGOs, and academia descended on Amsterdam for the fifth WASH Sustainability Forum. For two days, participants from around the globe shared knowledge and expertise on national and project level sustainability tools for water, sanitation, and hygiene.
Around the world, 748 million people lack access to safe drinking water and the situation is equally grim for sanitation with 2.5 billion people without access to adequate sanitation facilities. Even more challenging is sustaining both the infrastructure and the changes in behavior; both are imperative to long-lasting impact. Unfortunately, as many as 40 percent of water and sanitation infrastructure programs fail prematurely, even more systems fail to deliver a minimum standard of service, and there are few proven approaches to sustaining behavior change. To drive the sector forward, the WASH Sustainability Forum brought together experts to discuss concrete approaches to address these sustainability challenges.
Participants from Africa and Asia provided perspective to the reality on the ground in their countries, including the difficulty putting tools into practice and their experience applying sustainability approaches. “This [Forum] presents an opportunity for people who are in the field doing water, sanitation, and hygiene programs to showcase what is happening at the field level and find out approaches we can adopt to be able to ensure the systems we are putting in place are sustainable beyond the installation,” stated Charles Yeboah from Safe Water Network, based in Ghana.
“The challenge is, how do we bring WASH sustainability tools to local governments?” remarked Dick van Ginhoven, Senior Advisor for Water and Sanitation for the Dutch Agency for Development Aid (DGIS). Representatives from DGIS, the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have been working with developing country governments to create commitments for improving WASH in their countries. The outcomes from this Forum have the potential to influence these national government processes including Sanitation and Water for All and the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.
To learn more about the WASH Sustainability Forum, please visit http://www.sustainablewash.org/2014-wash-sustainability-forum.
In 2010, over 40 organizations gathered at the first Sustainability Forum to discuss sustainable water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services at scale. The following year, nearly 100 stakeholders from over 50 organizations came together to develop a common set of sustainability principles, which became the WASH Sustainability Charter. The momentum continued to build with new sustainability initiatives, learning forums, webinars, and presentations at global conferences. Sustainability has become a common topic as organizational practices and programmatic work shift from individual projects to sustainable services. In early 2012, individuals from a consortium of organizations (Aguaconsult, Global Water Challenge, IRC, and WASH Advocates) came together to build on previous work around sustainability and create SustainableWASH.org as a dynamic hub for the sustainability conversation.
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