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Closing the sanitation service gap: Integrating sanitation into urban legislation, policy, budgets for safe, inclusive, city-wide services

Alye Schrecongost



Tuesday, June 28, 2022


Multifunction Hall: SDGs in Action area
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF)
United States of America
Equitable urban futures


Sanitation services are crucial to public health, environmental protection, and to eradicating poverty and inequality in human settlements. However, national and sub-national urban policies, legislation, strategies, and plans rarely incorporate sanitation goals or measures. Water and sanitation operators are essential to meeting the basic needs of rapidly growing urban populations. Operators struggle to keep up with growth and the costs of increasing climate change impacts. Status quo approaches are insufficiently nimble, inclusive or viable. For service systems to address growing water and sanitation demand in the context of climate change, operators and municipal governments must work together proactively. And all sector actors must urgently invest in strengthening public-driven service systems if water, sanitation and urban planning are to benefit underserved areas, support economic growth, protect the environment, and attract investment. This event will convey why urban development policy makers and practitioners must incorporate sanitation goals, strategies, and plans into urban development plans if basic services are to be inclusive and financially viable. Coordination between responsible departments for water and sanitation and those responsible for urban development—at the national, subnational and local government levels—are a start. The event will share practical ways to advance integration for improved outcomes, namely: (1) integrating public monitoring and information management systems to inform urban development and water/sanitation services, (2) enhancing capacity and commitment of governments to clarify inclusive sanitation service mandates, invest in accountability systems, and re-think financing norms, and (3) supporting sanitation authorities to formalize service systems for all residents, particularly in slums and informal settlements, and to attract quality private sector investment and services. For example, continuous, effective tracking of service coverage, including spatial differentials, is essential to inform investment and management decisions, to improve local operational performance by sanitation utilities, and to enable incentives and accountability for fulfilling mandates. Strong public data systems are requisite if inclusive services, public health and environmental protection, and resource management approaches are to be taken seriously as public policy goals. Data-informed decisions advance the circular economy, support climate change adaptation, and drive technology innovation. Sanitation-focused Water Operators’ Partnerships can inspire, mobilize and enhance action by utilities at the local level. In this session, government, utility, urban, and development partners will identify barriers to change and promising cases and practices for advancing SDG 6 and 11 together, using the citywide inclusive sanitation framing to organize and communicate a coherent and achievable strategy for the sector moving forward.


1- to engage urban development and water and sanitation professionals to understand the potential for transformative improvements in health, environment and livelihoods through city-wide inclusive sanitation; 2 -to improve practionners’ understanding of the urgent need to integrate sanitation into sustainable urban development given climate change and continued unplanned urbanization, through inclusive open debate; 3-to give public sector experts a platform to share real lessons, practices, policies and legislation that support integration of sanitation service systems into urban development policy, planning, and investment' 4-to illuminate the demonstrated link between public investment in integrated data systems, clear mandates, and accountability systems and cities’ ability to attract viable investment in inclusive service delivery; 5 -to illustrate the practical ways development partners and governments can invest in operators and sanitation service systems that best identify and prioritize the most urgent service across all urban users

Session speakers

Ms. Alyse Schrecongost
Senior Program Officer
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Mr. Charles Higha
Principle Secretary
State Department of Housing and Urban Development
Ms. Julie Perkins
Acting Head Global Water Operators Partnerships Alliance(GWOPA)
UN Habitat
Mr. Prabhat Shrestha
Ministry of Water, Nepal
Mr. Mani Ram Gelal
Principle Secretary
Ministry Water Supply, Nepal