Theme 2: Prioritising those most in need (Thematic Discussion on SDGs)

  • HAPitot
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Re: Theme 2: Prioritising those most in need (Thematic Discussion on Sustainable Development Goals)

Intersting discussion...

I think another important aspect is to offer low cost options that a) are affordable to the great majority of the population, that b) people can identify with, and c) for environmental reasons don't pollute the groundwater. Products derived from human waste, be it in the form of fertilizer products, be it as produce of some kind (cashing in on the added value) will help to make the servicing affordable.

In my view, understanding the benefits of sanitation and costs are the crucial factors to get a population involved. Where the benefits of sanitation are marginal (like in very rural areas), there is no need to make a big effort.

Cheers, H-A

Hanns-Andre Pitot
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  • GrahamK
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Re: Theme 2: Prioritising those most in need (Thematic Discussion on Sustainable Development Goals)

I do agree that
"Products derived from human waste, be it in the form of fertilizer products, be it as produce of some kind (cashing in on the added value) will help to make the servicing affordable."
But who is gong to do this?

One possibility is a simple device that is lowered into latrines with Black Soldier Fly larvae that consume any manure.
There was such a project but work on it stopped because there was no more funding.

Graham Knight
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Re: Theme 2: Prioritising those most in need (Thematic Discussion on Sustainable Development Goals)

An interesting suggestion! Do you have more information about that device?

I think one of the problems has been a general perception among administrators and donors that sanitation has to cost money. And, of course, there is a whole industry attached to it that benefits from that notion.

It is certainly coming from the way developed countries have been dealing with sanitation, i.e. using water toilets, sewage systems, and waste water treatment plants - end of pipe technology, that is. As beneficial and innovative it may originally have been, it is really more of an example of how a lot of money has been sunk into an inefficient technology, starting out with the very expensive sewage systems, and then realizing that they pollute the environment and having to add more and more technology to correct the effects.

And in my view, even the BMGF is not ambitious enough with their targets even though I need to acknowledge that they have triggered new thinking about sanitation with their 'reinvent the toilet challenge'. But, as I have been mentioning in earlier posts on this forum, the target of 5 cents (US) for the overall costs of using a toilet on a per person per day basis is way too high. It should be somewhere between one and two cents in order to make a sanitation technology appealing to the poor at least in an African context.

I personally view sanitation a bit like food - it needs to be both cheap and appealing in order to spread among 'the most in need'. Every dollar spent in order to reach that goal (plus a lack of pollution) is money well spent.

Regards, H-A

Hanns-Andre Pitot
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Re: Theme 2: Prioritising those most in need (Thematic Discussion on Sustainable Development Goals)

There have been many discussions on this forum about Black Soldier Fly Larvae, see this whole section of the forum for many discussions: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/147-pr...eta-or-organic-waste

A critical question if the BSFL are to be used as animal feed and/or the faeces is to be spread to land is the safety. In my opinion, the best research does not yet indicate that BSFL on their own are sufficient to sanitise faeces, and the risks of feeding the larvae to animals are still being examined.

In my opinion, safety is a top priority over and above cost. A low cost system which just ends up spreading material, and infection, is not really worth having.
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Re: Theme 2: Prioritising those most in need (Thematic Discussion on Sustainable Development Goals)

Joe,

I would agree, it's the primary function of sanitation to contain diseases. But you can have both, that's what ecological sanitation is all about.

When I was talking about produce in my earlier post, I wasn't thinking of BSF larvae, but these would be an option if rendered safe. In solid waste management in particular, I think they are a very interesting option as they would create an additional product.

I was just thinking of fruits and vegetables.

H-A

Hanns-Andre Pitot
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Re: Theme 2: Prioritising those most in need (Thematic Discussion on Sustainable Development Goals)

Again, there have been many discussions on this forum as to the effectiveness of various forms of ecosan. I don't believe it is really correct to state that it is always possible for all forms of ecosan to contain disease. That is not backed up by the science.

The best forms of ecosan are not cheap, cheap forms of ecosan are not effective.
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Re: Theme 2: Prioritising those most in need (Thematic Discussion on Sustainable Development Goals)

Correct, there have been many discussions about this subject on the forum and there is no need to repeat those discussions. But I would disagree with your categoric statement: The best forms of ecosan are not cheap, cheap forms of ecosan are not effective. I think THAT is bad science.

As far as I am aware, at the moment, the best examples of affordable urban ecosan are Sanergy in Nairobi and SOIL of Haiti. Both have been presenting themselves on this forum. And both are selling fertilizer products to help finance servicing of toilets, and both are targeting low income groups. But both have not been very forthcoming when it comes to publishing their costs.

From my own experiences, as far as feasibility analyses are concerned, I can confirm that low costs are possible, and safety can also be maintained.

Thanks, H-A

Hanns-Andre Pitot
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Re: Theme 2: Prioritising those most in need (Thematic Discussion on Sustainable Development Goals)

SOIL Haiti charge a monthly subscription to users of at least $5 per toilet forum.susana.org/forum/categories/34-uri...ocess-in-haiti#14713

I don't consider that to be a particularly low cost option (compared to other ecosan systems, for example), although I agree SOIL Haiti's model appears to be a good one.

I'd also point out that in the above post, Leah says that some are dropping out of the scheme due to the cost, hence I don't think it is correct to say that they're able to service the lowest income groups.
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Re: Theme 2: Prioritising those most in need (Thematic Discussion on Sustainable Development Goals)

That's about 17 cents per day for servicing - plus 35 dollars for the toilet. I don't know the size of a typical family or household in Haiti, but I would think it's somewhere between 5 and 10 (considering, also, that several small households can join together to use one toilet). Under this assumption, I think the cost figures I was mentioning are not high, certainly less than the 5 cents per person per day the BMGF is targeting.

But even at these prices, some customers are apparently dropping out. That would confirm my view that a price somewhere between 1 and 2 cents per person per day should be targeted in order to promote sanitation among the poorer sections of society in least developed countries. It looks as though SOIL isn't quite there yet, but at least they are trying!

And you are right, there are cheaper options, which in my view do not have to be worse because they are cheaper.

Hanns-Andre Pitot
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  • Louisa Gosling
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Re: Theme 2: Prioritising those most in need (Thematic Discussion on SDGs)

Thank you for the thoughtful posts.

There are a number of important points here:

In SDG terms when we say “we” it is all of those concerned with the issue, including government, non government, private sector, civil society, and individuals, all of whom have roles and responsibilities. The particular focus is on the Member States, who are making this important commitment for which they are accountable.

While the SDGs clarify the need to prioritise the most marginalised, they do not expect everyone else to be ignored. To achieve universal access means ensuring services are for all, and we know from very long experience that special attention needs to be paid to those who have been consistently left out due to their lack of voice and influence.

To do this requires taking seriously the issues raised in the discussion.

In particular the question about paying for services. Today, in Geneva, the Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation was presenting his report on the affordability of water and sanitation , which directly addressed this point about how to make services affordable to everyone, whilst realistically covering the costs of a comprehensive and sustainable service. This is not an easy task especially with regard to prioritising the poorest, but it is up to everyone to play their part in developing models and approaches that will move towards this end. And it is a constant struggle to find solutions in different contexts, looking across rich and poor countries.

Contributors have raised issues about the potential and the dangers of seeking low cost options that might be affordable but do not provide safe or sustainable services. Sharing experiences on networks like SuSanA are an important way to move forward and learn from each other’s experience as well as advocating for serious investment in sanitation services.

The point raised about the difficulty of ensuring services are really inclusive is also important, and again we need to work hard and together to share what approaches work and what do not. For example the UK’s Department for International Development is currently working to role out its disability framework , which is designed to ensure all investment includes people with disabilities. Nobody thinks that this is easy, but it with a concerted effort surely more can be done.

The WASH sector has been dominated by technical specialists and more focus is needed to address the social and political elements of ensuring access for all. Simple technical solutions will not work on their own and it is not possible to get access to WASH in isolation. Those of us working in this sector must build on a more holistic analysis of why people are excluded from water and sanitation and other human rights in different contexts.

Louisa Gosling
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  • Katrin
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Re: Theme 2: Prioritising those most in need (Thematic Discussion on Sustainable Development Goals)

Dear Louisa, dear discussion participants,

Thank you very much for your thoughtful contributions to our discussion on the SDGs and the goal to prioritise those most in need.

The official part of the discussion is hereby closed but you are of course welcome to continue to post in this thread.

Next week, I will provide a summary of the posts published up until now and will inform you here how to access it once it is available.

Best,
Katrin

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  • muench
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Re: Theme 2: Prioritising those most in need (Thematic Discussion on Sustainable Development Goals)

Ah, my post is "too late". Never mind. As you said, Katrin, the thread continues to be open and the "closing" just refers to the official summary of the thread. :-)

I just wanted to bring to your attention a paper about MDGs and SDGs that has recently been published in a German magazine (but is in English):
"From the Millennium Development to the Sustainable Development Goals for Drinking Water and Sanitation"

One of the authors is Roland Werchota from GIZ who spent many years in Kenya and was crucial for the Gates-funded UBSUP project which Doreen is also working on: www.susana.org/en/resources/projects?search=UBSUP

I think the paper raises some new issues that haven't been touched on in this thread about "those most in need" and the importance of formal service provision and accurate data.

I have attached the paper below at the end of this post.

Roland has been a strong proponent of formal service provision rather than informal service provision, in the case of water supply to the urban poor. The points that he makes are also of relevance to formal versus informal service provision in sanitation. This is what I had raised elsewhere about "where is the local government in all this?" (see forum.susana.org/forum/categories/142-go...n-for-the-urban-poor )

He's also been a proponent of using data collected by sector organisations, rather than data collected at household level.

The authors of the paper make some interesting comparisons between the SDGs and the MDGs; I have copied some relevant paragraphs below:

As compared to the MDGs, drinking water and sanitation
takes on a more important role: Drinking water
and sanitation are addressed separately from other
aspects and the goals are formulated more comprehensively
than the targets in the past. Affordability is back
on the agenda for the aim to achieve access for all. The
fact that related areas of high importance are mentioned
explicitly, e. g. capacity-building or participation, are
considered positive. Hence, the SDGs overcome some
weaknesses of the MDGs.

[...]

From what has been learned from the MDG experience, for the SDGs to be successful it
is important to ensure that the goals and targets are not
again weakened and that difficulties associated with monitoring
are not dealt with by changing the goals and targets
to facilitate measurement and comparability but rather to
implement manageable indicators and monitoring practices
.

Thereby, it is important to make use of database and information
systems stemming from the sector at national
level
wherever such systems produce reliable data which is the case where comprehensive sector reforms lead to improved data at the level of providers and regulators.

[...]

The analysis and discussion above has shown that when
monitoring access to drinking water and sanitation it is of
utmost importance to differentiate between urban and
rural areas, between household- and community-level,
between different modes of delivery and between formal
and informal service provision
. If these distinctions cannot
easily be allowed for in questionnaires of household
surveys, they need to be combined with other instruments.

[...]

The shift towards a formal service provision framework
would require relatively less investments as would, e. g., a
shift from non-piped to piped drinking water. Thus, policies
and actions should be directed at funding and fostering
functioning institutional regimes.



In the paper they criticise that:

Consequently, the international monitoring causes a
very large number of people to be classified as people with
access to clean water, although in reality they obtain polluted
raw water at exorbitant prices from the informal service
providers or directly from polluted access points (categorized
as “other improved sources”). Both scenarios contradict the
intentions of the MDG declarations, the Human Rights
Declaration on drinking water and sanitation, the WHO
standards for drinking water and the efforts of multilateral
and bilateral donors.

[...]

In summary, however, this
illustrates that, at least in the urban areas of the Sub-Saharan
region, the sustainable access to clean drinking water has
not increased. The situation has rather significantly deteriorated
for many people. It is most likely, that due to the
rapid urbanization, the trend will remain negative in many
countries. Hence, the overall picture is not really a success
story.

[...]

The MDG objectives and monitoring
practice do not meet the multidimensional character of
drinking water and sanitation and are unnecessarily simplified.
This also affects the orientation of the development of the
sector negatively, e. g. discrimination against the poor by the
ongoing acceptance of low-quality and high cost service
provision
.


Another interesting point about the importance of formal service providers:

Relevant scientific evidence,
which has been ground-breaking for drinking water and
sanitation services in industrial countries and has set minimum
requirements for the sector development over the
past 150 years, has not been taken into account.
For more than 100 years in the developed world, nobody has had to
drink untreated raw water from conurbations,
which has not at least been regularly tested. Additionally, nobody has been
subject to the arbitrariness of the service provider with
respect to supply and price. In industrial countries these
challenges have been simply solved by replacing the informal
by formal services. In many developing countries this step
does not seem to be envisioned.
Institutional and supervisory
regimes as well as the instalment of suitable incentive
systems do not receive
the attention they ought to have.


Regards,
Elisabeth

Community manager and chief moderator of this forum
(Funded via GIZ short term consultancy contract)

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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