Access to water and sanitation is a universal right

19.11.2015, Chiredzi District, Zimbabwe. Toilet facilities at the Ruware primary school.
Access to water and sanitation is a human right. Schoolchildren washing their hands in front of the toilet facilities at the Ruware primary school in Chiredzi District, Zimbabwe. © Andreas Steiner, SDC

Today, around 844 million people have no access to safe drinking water. The SDC is working to ensure that people have reliable supplies of drinking water and adequate sanitation. Recognised as a human right since 2010, access to drinking water and sanitation are essential to meeting basic human needs.

SDC focus

Water is common property, and access to drinking water and sanitation is a human right. The SDC works to ensure that people have adequate supply of drinking water and access to sanitation and treatment plants enabling them to maintain adequate hygiene. Switzerland has extensive expertise in the field of water that is recognised across the globe and supports a range of activities:

  • applied research and innovation
  • financing to improve access to water and wastewater disposal worldwide
  • developing new approaches to services and new partnerships with the private sector (water stewardship)
  • upscaling of infrastructure programmes. It also provides capacity building and training to ensure that facilities function properly.

The SDC brings the practical experience it has gained to political dialogue between governments, the private sector and civil society in order to promote mutual learning and support the implementation of workable, sustainable solutions.

Background

According to the UN, around 844 million people currently have no access to drinking water. Furthermore, 2.3 billion people live without adequate sanitation facilities and 892 million still practice open defecation. Poor sanitation conditions alone cause 80% of the diseases prevalent in developing countries. Around the world, 1,000 children under the age of five die every day from diarrhoeal diseases as a result of drinking contaminated water. However, in many cases the problem is not due to a shortage of water as such but rather to the absence of national and international funding commitments to provide access to water of suitable quality where it is needed. For that reason, the SDC seeks to cooperate with all stakeholders in developing a system that in the long term will enable everyone to enjoy access to clean drinking water.

Documents

Current projects

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Sustainable Natural Resources Management (NRM) for Enhanced Pastoralist Food Security in the Borana Zone, Ethiopia.

01.01.2022 - 31.12.2027

Natural resources, particularly water and pasture, are among the key determinants of pastoralist livelihoods’ sustainability. The proposed Project contributes to the outcomes of the SDC’s Food Security Domain as stipulated in the Swiss Cooperation Strategy Horn of Africa. It aims at improving pastoralist food security and adaptive capacities in the lowlands of Borana Zone, Southern Ethiopia, through enhancing the sustainable management of natural resources.


GVCD - Gaza Vulnerable Communities Development Programme

01.01.2022 - 31.12.2024

Through the Gaza Vulnerable Communities Development Programme, Switzerland contributes to covering basic needs and fostering social cohesion in the Gaza Strip. The successful intervention model applied in the 1st Phase is extended and scaled up under this 2nd Phase. Small infrastructure projects addressing basic needs of vulnerable communities serve as an entry point for a local dialogue on development priorities, enabled through building the capacities of both duty bearers and right holders, including youth and women.


Contribution to Swiss Water Partnership (SWP)

01.01.2022 - 31.12.2025

The Swiss Water Partnership is a multi-stakeholder platform bringing together Swiss organizations from the academic, civil society including youth, public and private sectors, to join forces and find innovative solutions for water challenges in developing and transition countries. Umbrella of Swiss water stakeholders at the international level, carrying the diversity of the Swiss voice, the SWP is an important complementary partner to SDC to accelerate the 2030 water agenda.


City-to-City Partnership Hawassa – Lugano

01.01.2022 - 31.12.2026

This contribution supports an innovative Swiss-Ethiopian municipal twinning partnership to enhance capacity at the sub-national level to manage access to drinking water in good quantity and quality according to the Sustainable Development Goal 6.1 and 6.3 in underserved communities. The partnership will be accompanied by a research and education component, involving local and Swiss innovative university partnerships.


RAPID+ The Kenya Arid Lands Partnership for Integrated Development Plus

01.11.2021 - 31.10.2026

Pastoralist communities in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) have for a very long time adapted to the harsh environments to derive livelihoods (mainly livestock). Communities in the ASALs are facing multiple pressures of climate change, degraded natural resources and conflicts. This program supports the historically marginalised and under-developed pastoralist communities in Northern Kenya to access safe, reliable and affordable Water and manage their rangeland ecosystem sustainably.  


Contribution au Fond national pour l’eau, l’hygiène et l’assainissement au Niger

01.11.2021 - 31.12.2022

Les progrès réalisés dans le secteur de l’eau et de l’assainissement sont freinés par la forte croissance démographique. Le sous-financement du secteur ne permet pas d’améliorer significativement l’accès à l’eau et à l’assainissement. En contribuant au Fonds national pour l’eau, la Suisse appuie le gouvernement dans ses efforts; par son dialogue politique elle soutient la décentralisation du secteur, où elle a une forte valeur ajoutée. 


Contribution to Earth Security

01.10.2021 - 31.03.2025

This programme aims at catalysing new financial mechanisms and partnerships, including with the Swiss finance sector, which promote water-related ecosystem services of forests

as a ‘climate solution’ vital to the water cycle and to the benefit of society. While global in scope it will focus low and lower-middle income countries. It will leverage Swiss Know-How across the Federal Administration and contribute to the climate mainstreaming goal of the Dispatch 2021-24. 


Global Hydrometry Support facility (WMO HydroHub)

01.09.2021 - 31.08.2026

Reliable hydro-meteorological observations and forecasts are critical to implement better water resources management practices and policies, and reduce water insecurity. By pursuing its support to the Global Hydrometry Support facility, Switzerland will contribute to improving hydrological services in developing countries. By so doing, SDC will help save lives and trigger economic development derived from increased productivity and reduced asset losses. 


Promoting Water Stewardship 2030 (Phase Il)

01.06.2021 - 31.12.2024

Water stewardship promotes the sustainable and equitable management of freshwater resources among communities, businesses, utilities and investors. SDC supports the Alliance for Water Stewardship, the CDP Water Security Programme and Water Witness International synergistically to advocate for water stewardship particularly in developing countries. SDC is a forerunner in bringing together these key actors to increase outreach and impact.


Scaling-up improved sanitation – Bridging Phase Sanitation and Hygiene Fund (SHF)

01.05.2021 - 30.04.2022

Investments in Sanitation, Hygiene and Menstrual Health are crucial to achieving the SDGs. The recently launched and UN-led Sanitation and Hygiene Fund (SHF) aims to fill a gaping void in the international response to the sanitation, hygiene and menstrual health crisis. With this project, Switzerland supports the SHF in its operational set-up, starting country readiness work, resource mobilization and to become operational by early 2022


Territorial water governance in the Gulf of Fonseca Region - phase II

01.04.2021 - 30.06.2024

The Program facilitates the empowerment of the Watershed Councils of the Nacaome, Choluteca and Sampile rivers in the Gulf of Fonseca Region in terms of their leadership and sustainable and participatory management of the water governance system. This contributes to collaborative processes and investments in the frame of the formulation and implementation of watershed plans, indirectly benefiting 500,000 inhabitants.


Cryospheric Observation and Modelling for improved Adaptation in Central Asia (CROMO-ADAPT)

01.04.2021 - 31.12.2025

Climate change in Central Asia mountain regions will have significant impacts on water availability and occurrence of natural hazards. This project strengthens the glacier, snow and permafrost monitoring systems and capacities in Central Asia, develops user-oriented climate information services, and supports the planning of adaptation measures to increase resilience to climate change. The project builds on Swiss expertise in monitoring and adaptation in alpine water and disaster risk management.

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