Securing Sanitation: The Compelling Case to Address the Crisis
In 2002 the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg recognised the central role played by sanitation when it adopted a target to halve, by 2015, the percentage of people without access to basic sanitation. Sanitation and the means to practice hygienic behaviours yield direct benefits in terms of health, education and economic productivity. Lack of access to this most basic of needs is an assault against human dignity. This report, the synthesis of two previously released papers, lays out the economic case for investing in sanitation: 1.47 billion people (20% of the world’s population) stand to benefit if the target is met and the economic benefits could be as high as USD 65 billion annually. The greatest proportion of these benefits will accrue in the poorest regions of the world, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, but the benefit cost ratio is consistently high across all regions.The report goes on to explore ways and means to accelerate progress. Using a historic analysis of the public health movement in Europe in the late 19th century, it argues that institutions need to be reshaped to address the urgent need to increase access to basic services. An increased focus on the household and emphasis on creating and responding to demand for appropriate services are needed along with better and more efficient investments in public elements of sanitation, including sanitation in schools and health centres. The report, commissioned by the Government of Norway, was prepared by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) with input from the World Health Organization and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation.