World Toilet Day: Cities need new financial solutions to implement safe sanitation

    As the world celebrates World Toilet Day, we are reminded that, despite worldwide efforts, 2.1 billion people worldwide still lack access to basic sanitation. The situation is becoming even more acute in urban areas because of increasing migration. Basic sanitation is widely recognized to have positive impacts on health and the economy, so why don’t cities do more to improve their sanitation systems?


    To understand why the international community is struggling to reach its sanitation goals, we must also understand the financial obstacles that are hampering progress. The costs of building safe sanitation systems and restoring and maintaining deteriorating infrastructure are too high, and the necessary investments can be unsustainable especially for developing countries because it is difficult and expensive to provide good sanitation services, the issue often falls low on political priorities.


    The World Water Council is currently developing a program to identify innovative mechanisms to finance sanitation which are emerging across the world. The program is based on financial analysis of the sanitation sector in 8 cities around the globe. The case studies will form the basis for a report and policy recommendations for cities to be launched at the 8th World Water Forum in Brasilia.


    To contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.2 on access to sanitation,more efforts are required. By exploring and publicizing innovative financing instruments to increase sanitation provision and to involve more actors in the development of national sanitation financing plans, the Council’s program intends to help political authorities around the world tackle the sanitation crisis and support cities in which healthy, happy people can live sustainably.

    Read the more about the Council’s program on financing sanitation.