World Toilet Day 2020: Sustainable Sanitation and Climate Change

World Toilet Day 2020: Sustainable Sanitation and Climate Change

World Toilet Day 2020: Sustainable Sanitation and Climate Change 454 341 Agenda for Change

Image credit: SDG Knowledge Hub by IISD

World Toilet Day, recognized annually on November 19th, inspires the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector to tackle global sanitation challenges.  The theme this year is ‘sustainable sanitation and climate change’ which is directly aligned with the core of Sustainable Development Goal 6: Ensure access to water and sanitation for all by 2030.

Everyone deserves safe sanitation as part of a healthy and dignified life, but ensuring everyone has and keeps safe sanitation services is going to become increasingly difficult as the climate changes. Sanitation access, services, and safety are being affected now by rising tides, stronger storms, changing temperatures, epidemics, and longer droughts.

Below we highlight examples of what Agenda for Change members are doing to strengthen sanitation systems. Several of them explicitly promote climate change adaptation. Resources include blogs, videos, presentations, and more.

Agenda for Change

Strengthening Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Systems: Concepts, Examples, and Experiences – Highlights several case studies from Agenda for Change members and their WASH systems work around the world. For example, Members have been ensuring that sector policies and plans adequately consider water resource management issues such as water security, resilience, and climate change.


Providing Ongoing Advisory Support for the Development of CWIS SAP – Aguaconsult collaborated with Athena Infonomics and the Eastern and Southern Africa Water and Sanitation Regulators Association to advise on development of the Citywide Inclusive Sanitation Services Assessment and Planning tool.

Coming Soon! District level Roadmap for Sanitation – The District-level Roadmap (2017) focused on sustainable water services in rural areas. Aguaconsult and Water For People are producing an updated roadmap to provide guidance and highlight available tools related to sanitation and hygiene services.


Integrating Meaningful Community-Based Adaptation in Climate-Resilient Water Resources Planning and Sanitation and Hygiene Programming presentation at UNC Water and Health Conference – Maria Mercedes Medina Muñoz presents on community-based climate adaptation (CBA) in CARE Peru’s Glaciares program (minute 1:56). (Note: viewers must have registered for the conference and have a Pathable account to view recorded presentation)


Humanitarian Response Case Study 42: Nigeria – Area-Based Programming for Integrated Emergency Response and Recovery – A review of CRS’ work with refugee and IDP camps in Nigeria makes the case for systems strengthening approaches even in emergencies, such as Area Based Programming, formalizing local area coordination mechanisms, and collaborating with involved parties to improve maps and information systems.

The Center for Water Security and Cooperation (CWSC)

CWSC Statement on the 10th Anniversary of the U.N. General Assembly Declaration of a Human Right to Water and Sanitation – This statement explains that many countries still do not articulate a right to water or a right to sanitation in their constitutions or laws, including the United States. Where these rights are articulated, there is no mechanism to enforce them.  Even where rights are articulated and enforcement exists, people still lack access to water because of mismanagement, underfunding, and changes to our climate.


Mozambique – Improving People’s Living Conditions and Health Conditions – Helvetas’ multi-sectoral work through their Governance, Water, and Sanitation Program supports effective participation and transparency in local governance processes for improved and sustainable service delivery in the water and sanitation sector (includes a video).


Webinar on O&M opportunities in rural community sanitary complexes – Register now for today’s webinar from IRC discussing rural sanitation strategies on 19 November 2020, 16:00 New Delhi / IST.

Testing sewage for early warnings about COVID-19: thematic discussion synthesis – A conference report documenting sanitation challenges with regards to COVID-19.


WASH-M (Water, sanitation, hygiene and menstrual health) – Explains that WASH interventions must also address menstrual health solutions, not just with the provision of products, but also in the form of menstrual health education, behavior, and normative change to reduce stigma and normalize menstruation, and advocacy to increase funding for critically important menstrual health programs.


Interview with Programme Manager Sohail Nazir – Agenda for Change conducted an interview with WaterAid Pakistan Program Manager Sohail Nazir, who emphasized the need to link district-level work with provincial-level governance to bring about sustainable sanitation solutions. Following the achievement of the first district-wide open defecation free status in Pakistan in Muzaffargarh in 2019, WaterAid Pakistan continues to work to coordinate government efforts, civil society organizations, and uses local media as a tool to promote sustainable sanitation solutions.

Water For People

Sanitation Initiative Development – This infographic demonstrates Water For People’s process of sustainably scaling market-based sanitation initiatives, by understanding gaps in services and identifying market opportunities.


The first province-led rural sanitation sector conference – A blog (in English and Khmer) describing a conference led by Kampong Cham provincial government officials that addressed rural sanitation problems. The blog depicts a government led and funded event which represents a good example of the shift in roles that WaterSHED has been working towards.

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