Water Sanitation Health

International Year of Sanitation 2008


Activities

In response to the call for action of the UN General Assembly, WHO will provide support to the objectives of the IYS 2008 to accelerate progress on sanitation and hygiene and ensure that related health concerns are addressed. Strategically, WHO is best placed to:

  • Advocate for policy changes to improve coverage;
  • Improve stakeholders access to sanitation and health information; and
  • Enhance partnership and linkages with key stakeholders and programmes.

Advocate for policy changes to improve coverage

Participate as a health voice in international, regional and national events, providing policy-makers of donors and countries with information on the health and economic benefits of investing in sanitation and hygiene, and encouraging them to modify their policies and programs, as necessary. Such events are as follows:

  • IYS Global launch , New York - 21 November 2007
  • East Asia Sanitation Conference, Japan - 30 November - 1 December 2007
  • South Asia Sanitation Conference (SACOSAN) - 2008
  • Africa Sanitation Conference (AFRICASAN) - February 2008
  • National Sanitation and Hygiene Weeks (March 2008)
  • World Water Day (22 March 2008)
  • World Environment Day (5 June 2008)
  • Stockholm World Water Week (August 2008)
  • Environment and Health African Ministerial Conference (Gabon) - August 2008
  • World Habitat Day (6 October 2008)
  • IYS launches at country level (dates to be determined by countries).
  • World Water Forum - 2009

Expected outputs: commitment by donors and countries to develop policies on improving access on sanitation and hygiene as an intervention for addressing related health issues.

Improve stakeholders access to sanitation and health information

Promote and disseminate available information on sanitation, hygiene and health from WHO-led websites and other initiatives. As appropriate, existing databases will be improved and assistance will be provided in their revitalization. Existing information sources include:

  • Sanitation Connection: a web-based network of information on sanitation and hygiene. This is being revitalized by IWA and will be launched in time for IYS.
  • HIA database: a web-based repository of tools and studies on Health Impact Assessment (HIA).
  • Health and Environment Lexicon: a web-based lexicon for health and environment terminologies including sanitation and hygiene.
  • JMP: a joint WHO/UNICEF activity on monitoring progress on water and sanitation coverage.
  • Global report on sanitation: an activity of analyzing performance of donors and countries on sanitation and hygiene.
  • WHO's Water, Sanitation and Health (WSH) web site: a web-based repository of WSH publications.
  • WSH listserv: with more than 3000 email addresses that can receive information on water, sanitation and hygiene.

Expected outputs: use of sanitation, hygiene and health information by donors, countries and other key partners in the development of their sanitation agenda, plans, and programs.

Foster an enabling environment for improving access to sanitation and hygiene through the following initiatives:

  • Post-sewerage initiative: Analyze existing sanitation options and develop non-conventional strategies and guidelines in addressing sanitation issues in urban poor areas, including the effect of climate change. This work will be facilitated by WHO in collaboration with other experts on sanitation.
  • Norms: Advocate for and raise the profile of sanitation and hygiene through the development, dissemination , and on-going revision of WHO guidelines and tools, such as: safe use of wastewater, essential sanitation standards in schools and health care facilities, sanitation in ships and aviation, and health impact assessment tools.

Expected outputs: use of sanitation standards and guidelines by countries in their sanitation programmes.

Enhance partnership and linkages with key stakeholders and programmes

Participate in key activities of the UN-Water Task Force on Sanitation for the IYS, including the development of:

  • an action plan;
  • a communication strategy plan;
  • a joint publication on sanitation;
  • a website; and
  • global launch.

Expected outputs: health perspectives are reflected in International Year of Sanitation initiatives of UN-Water.

Collaborate with key organizers and participate in the preparatory works for international, regional and country events on sanitation and hygiene, such as:

  • East Asia Sanitation Conference ( December 2007)
  • IYS launches at country level (dates to be determined by countries)
  • South Asia Sanitation Conference (SACOSAN) - 2008
  • Africa Sanitation Conference (AFRICASAN) - February 2008
  • National Sanitation and Hygiene Weeks (March 2008)
  • World Water Day (22 March 2008)
  • World Environment Day (5 June 2008)
  • Environment and Health African Ministerial Conference (Gabon) - August 2008
  • Stockholm World Water Week (August 2008)
  • World Habitat Day (6 October 2008)
  • World Water Forum - 2009

Expected outputs: health perspectives reflected in the agenda of international, regional and country events on sanitation and hygiene.

Identify points of synergy and build on existing linkages with health and education programmes, such as:

  • Maternal and child health: role of sanitation in the reduction of diarrhoea, cholera, schistosomiasis, parasitism and malnutrition in children;
  • HIV/AIDS: role of sanitation in HIV/AIDS prevention;
  • Emergencies: role of sanitation in health emergencies;
  • Education: inclusion of sanitation and hygiene messages in school curriculum; application of minimum standards on sanitation in schools;
  • Health infrastructure: application of minimum sanitation standards in health-care facilities.

Expected outputs: incorporation of sanitation and hygiene concerns into health and education programmes.

Develop and strengthen partnership with key stakeholders:

  • Establish linkages and coordinate IYS activities with key partners, such as:

    • Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council: an international NGO being hosted by WHO, with priorities on sanitation and hygiene in poor countries.
    • International Water Association: a professional group with an MOU with WHO, responsible for revitalizing Sanicon.
    • World Plumbing Council: an international NGO that promotes the role of plumbing industry in global health.

  • Explore possible cooperation with other stakeholders, such as:

    • Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA): an alliance of agencies on sustainable sanitation with working groups on sanitation in cities, sanitation and health, sanitation and climate change, sanitation and emergencies, community sanitation, sanitation and Wikipedia, joint monitoring, and knowledge management.
    • World Toilet Association: a Democratic People's Republic of Korea-based international NGO promoting and advocating improved and sustainable sanitation condition worldwide.
    • World Toilet Organization: a Singapore based NGO promoting improved sanitation standards for public toilets.
    • World Business Council for Sustainable Development: a global association of about 200 members dealing exclusively on business and sustainable development with activities being started on sanitation.

Expected outputs: synergy in information campaign, guidelines development, and advocacy for policy change and demand creation for sanitation and hygiene.

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