WEB-BASED ENVIRONMENTAL SANITATION NETWORK LAUNCHED
WHO joins with UNEP, the World
Bank, the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council and the
International Water Association to offer comprehensive Internet
resource to environmental health practitioners
A major web-based network on all aspects of
environmental sanitation is being launched at the Fifth Global Forum
of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, taking place
in Brazil from 24-29 November 2000. Called Sanitation Connection, it
comprises an easy-to-access web portal and an ever-growing number of
authoritative articles and links for the practitioner, and focuses on
authoritative information on technologies, institutions and financing.
The web address is www.sanicon.net
Users can click on the topic which interests them
to read a short overview article, with references and links to
web-based source material. For example, clicking on School
Sanitation will take the user in three clicks to a key UNICEF
resource on sanitation for schools. In time, users will also be able
to view pages of regional information so that they can link up with
other initiatives in their area. In the first phase, the primary
language will be English but it is intended to include other languages
as the resource develops.
Each set of theme pages is managed by organizations
with an international standing in the particular subject. Sanitation
Connection is a cooperative effort of the World Health
Organization (WHO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP),
the World Bank, the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council
(WSSCC) and the International Water Association (IWA). These
organizations will ensure that pages are kept up-to-date and develop a
set of frequently asked questions (FAQs).
A Help Desk has been established. Among other
activities, it will send printed copies of any materials requested to
enquirers. For those without access to the Internet, further
information on Sanicon is available from The Water And
Sanitation for Health (WSH) Unit at WHO.
The partnership of international organizations
leading the Sanitation Connection initiative is also a first.
The organizations all share a desire to improve sanitation worldwide.
UNEP developed the concept of a web-based network as part of its
Global Programme of Action to reduce land-based pollution of the
marine environment. WHO’s mandate is to reduce water-related
disease, of which effective sanitation – above all for the world’s
poor - is a key element. The WSSCC was established in 1990, at the end
of the Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade, to maintain the
momentum of the decade. It launched an important contribution to the
need for better exchange of information on sanitation: GESI – the
Global Environmental Sanitation Initiative. The IWA, an independent
self-funded member association, promotes best practice in all aspects
of water resource management. It hopes that its members will both
contribute to and benefit from Sanitation Connection.
The site is being implemented by two organizations
which have built up experience of information sharing in different
media, the Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC) and IRC:
International Water and Sanitation Centre. There are still
possibilities to contribute to the pages which make up the network.
The contact is Dr Julie Woodfield in the Urban Services Unit at WEDC (J.Woodfield@lboro.ac.uk).
Financial support for the development of Sanitation
Connection has been received from the international development
department of the British Government, DfID, through the Global Water
Partnership, UNEP, WHO and the WSSCC.
NOTE FOR JOURNALISTS
Also launched at the Fifth Global Forum of the
Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council was the WHO-UNICEF
Global Water Supply and Sanitation Assessment 2000, providing the most
reliable statistics yet on access to sanitation services. The
Assessment showed how 2,400 million people still do not have access to
any acceptable means of sanitation and that the modest target of
halving this number by 2015 means delivering improved services for
397,000 every day – which would mean raising the pace of improvement
by 85% compared to progress in the 1990s. The wider findings of the
Assessment reinforce the urgent priority of extending sanitation
coverage and hygiene education, identified in the "Framework for
Action" at the March 2000 World Water Forum in the Hague.
Sanitation Connection is one important
response to this challenge. It will also help raise awareness of a
problem which is fast becoming a major concern for environmental
health and water and sanitation experts worldwide: sewage discharge.
Wastewater discharges are considered one of the
most significant threats to sustainable coastal developments
worldwide. The priority for action on "sewage" was
identified by the UNEP/ Global Programme of Action for the Protection
of the Marine environment from Land-based Activities (GPA) in 1995.
UNEP/GPA developed, in cooperation with WHO, Habitat and the WSSCC, a
Strategic Action Plan aimed at supporting the efforts of States to
address the serious public health problems and the degradation of
coastal ecosystems that result from the disposal in coastal areas of
inadequately treated municipal wastewater. It does so through, amongst
others, the development of Recommendations for Decision-Making and
associated Knowledge Base in the form of a clearing-house; and the
holding of regional meetings - including partnership meetings - and
global conferences. Sanitation Connection is expected to be an
important tool in developing, agreeing and implementing the Strategic
For further information, journalists can contact
Office of the Spokesperson, WHO, Geneva. Telephone (+41 22) 791 25 99.
Fax (+41 22) 791 4858. Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
All WHO Press Releases, Fact Sheets and Features as well as other
information on this subject can be obtained on Internet on the WHO
home page http://www.who.int/