Financing sanitation for the poor - and Sustainable Development Solutions Network

  • pippa
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Financing sanitation for the poor - and Sustainable Development Solutions Network

Dear colleagues,

During Nov'14, grantees of the BMGF Building Demand for Sanitation program contemplated the knotty problem of “Financing sanitation services for the poor” in an online discussion.

Financing sanitation for the poor
Financing services for the poorest of society is a really knotty problem. As a sector we simply don’t know enough to untangle all those big and little knots that appear when trying to make WASH services and hardware affordable for the poor. On the one hand, we struggle with reaching the poorest individuals and communities using market-based approaches (services and products are often not affordable or accessible for base-of pyramid customers); and, on the other, behaviour-change approaches (that typically require lower financial investments at the household level) may not lead to sustainable sanitation solutions. As a sector we simply do not have enough good examples of how to finance sanitation services and hardware for the poor. We can probably all agree that some form of financing is required, somewhere, but do we know where, or how, to go about this?

Attached is a summary of the conversation so far. We'd like to open this conversation up to the wider community and are interested to hear your thoughts and reflections on this topic.

Looking forward to hearing from you,
with best wishes for 2015,
Pippa

+++++

Note by moderator (EvM) on 13 Nov 2015: see also this related thread started by Pippa:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/164-fi...follow-up-discussion

Pippa Scott
WASH Consultant www.i-San.co.uk
WEDC Research Associate
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  • SDickin
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Re: Financing sanitation for the poor

I wonder how this discussion on financing sanitation services for the poor fits within other debates on finance mechanisms (e.g. SDSN reports found at unsdsn.org/resources/publications/financing/ ). Could the approaches described in this program that are targeted towards households be integrated with public or private mechanisms? Particularly with the Financing for Development conference, large investments have been discussed. The WHO estimates some $27 billion will be required annually to ensure universal access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation. The kind of linkages that could be beneficial are not touched on in depth in the summary (nor are these types of financing services discussed in the SDSN report) but it may be interesting to consider synergies.

Btw, the examples that show how different approaches have been implemented are very helpful!

Dr. Sarah Dickin,
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Stockholm Environment Institute
Stockholm, Sweden
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Re: Financing sanitation for the poor

The abbreviation that you used (SDNS), Sarah, was new to me so I checked it out.
In case others also didn't know:
It's the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, see here: unsdsn.org/about-us/vision-and-organization/

Launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in August 2012, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) mobilizes scientific and technical expertise from academia, civil society, and the private sector in support of sustainable development problem solving at local, national, and global scales. We aim to accelerate joint learning and help to overcome the compartmentalization of technical and policy work by promoting integrated approaches to the interconnected economic, social, and environmental challenges confronting the world. The SDSN works closely with United Nations agencies, multilateral financing institutions, the private sector, and civil society.


Sarah, do you happen to know any people there? Might be interesting to connect with them somehow, not only because we share the adjective "sustainable" in our name. ;-)

Is the SDNS quite successful / influential? Do they have any contact points with sanitation yet?

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  • SDickin
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Re: Financing sanitation for the poor

Hi Elisabeth,
I don’t have any insider info, sorry, but I have found some of their reports useful. They now have 12 thematic networks involving different institutions, however sanitation is not mentioned explicitly, although relevant networks include: ‘Humanitarian – Development Linkages’, ‘Health for All,’ and ‘Forests, Oceans, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services’. In particular, they have some resources on ‘Data, Monitoring & Accountability’ and ‘Financing’ related to addressing the SDG agenda that touch on sanitation that may be of interest.
Sarah

Dr. Sarah Dickin,
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Stockholm Environment Institute
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