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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Ethiopia, UNICEF, Emergency WASH Response for the Reduction of Hunger in Borena Zone, Oromia Region

01.12.2018 - 30.11.2020

The Borena Zone (Oromia Region) hosts one third of Oromia's conflict Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) between Oromo and Somali groups. Water is a priority for conflict IDP sites and local populations. UNICEF, as the lead agency for the WASH sector in development and humanitarian settings, proposes targeted interventions to respond to immediate life-saving needs by improving access to clean and safe drinking water, and support the recovery phase for both IDPs and host communities.


WaSH Support for Rohingya Refugees and Vulnerable Local Communities in Cox’s Bazar District

25.11.2018 - 24.11.2021

Basic services such as infrastructure, health, water, forest and land resources that were available prior to the Rohingya influx in Cox’s Bazar are under strain due to the massive increase in people in the area. The HYSAWA Fund will address the needs and gaps of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, targeting vulnerable host communities and refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar by enhancing capacity of Local Government Institutions. It will apply tools developed in previous Swiss programmes to improve state-citizen relations and relationships between refugees and the host communities.


Water Efficiency in Rice and Cotton

01.11.2018 - 31.12.2021

The public-private-partnership project aims at enhancing smallholder farmers’ income and water productivity in cotton and rice production through improved technologies (PUSH), increased demand of sustainable products by the private sector (PULL) and water stewardship plans (POLICY).
SDC supports a consortium with 20 partners coordinated by HELVETAS in the implementation of the PUSH-PULL-POLICY approach in India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar and Madagascar.


Blue Peace Index

01.11.2018 - 31.12.2023

Financial investment in sustainable forms of water cooperation remains limited. Switzerland’s expertise on transboundary water management combined with the Economist Intelligence Unit’s understanding of financial investment bear the unique potential to trigger the change by developing a Blue Peace Index. The aim of such an Index is to increase the awareness on the benefits of cooperation and attracting financial resources for sustainable and resilient investment forms for water cooperation ultimately contributing to a more peaceful and stable society.


Contribution Earth Security Initiative (ESI)

01.10.2018 - 30.09.2021

The ESI is an independent think tank which aims at catalyzing the global financial and industry sectors to define and leverage global finance innovations that contribute directly to cooperation between different sectors and countries for sustainable water management and poverty alleviation. This SDC contribution will promote the development of new financial mechanisms aligned with sustainable development policy objectives and priorities of developing countries to the benefit of society and natural resources.


Public Private Development Partnership to improved Plumbing Education in Ukraine

01.10.2018 - 28.02.2023

The mismatch of skills and qualifications with the needs of the economy remains an important cause of low productivity in Ukraine. This Public Private Development Partnership aims at improving the quality and relevance of vocational education and training for plumbers. Improved skills and knowledge tailored to the needs of the market will contribute to increase employability and incomes of young people.


Blue Peace: Unlocking the value of transboundary, multisectoral and transgenerational investments

01.10.2018 - 31.12.2029

In order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals government efforts do not suffice, large private capitals deployed towards development are needed. Switzerland has a comparative advantage as innovative finance hub. Building on this, SDC contributes to the development of innovative financial products that enable transboundary, multisectoral and transgenerational investments with aim to contribute to sustainable development and peace.


Blue Peace Financing: transboundary, multisectoral and transgenerational investments

01.10.2018 - 30.06.2023

To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals government efforts do not suffice, additional private capital deployed towards sustainable development are needed. Blue Peace advocates for investments to be re-directed to two levels: transboundary entities and to municipalities. This will have a transformative impact. As a door opener, Switzerland through its partnership with UNCDF contributes to the development of innovative financial products that enable transboundary, multisectoral and transgenerational investments leading to sustainable development and peace.


lntegrated Water Resource Management in Kosovo

01.10.2018 - 30.04.2024

The Integrated Water Resource Management project supports different stakeholders in Kosovo at the national, regional and local level for establishing an integrated water resources management approach. This approach will address issues such as pollution, rising demand for water for farming, industry and growing urban areas, and will help mitigate the impact of climate change.

 


Contribution Earth Security Initiative (ESI)

01.09.2018 - 31.03.2024

The ESI is an independent think tank which aims at catalyzing the global financial and industry sectors to define and leverage global finance innovations that contribute directly to cooperation for sustainable water management and poverty alleviation. This SDC contribution will promote the development of new financial mechanisms that are aligned with sustainable development policy objectives and priorities of developing countries to the benefit of society and natural resources.


China: Rehabilitation and management strategy for over-pumped aquifers under a changing climate

01.09.2018 - 31.12.2021

In the past 30 years the aquifers in the North China plain have been over-exploited. Based on cutting-edge Sino-Swiss expertise in real-time groundwater monitoring and modelling, the project will implement groundwater and agricultural management policies to stabilize groundwater levels as a buffer to climate change induced droughts. The project will work with farmers and local authorities to facilitate policy uptake. Findings are relevant for many water-stressed countries and will be shared globally.


Solar irrigation for Agriculture Resilience (SoLAR)

01.08.2018 - 31.12.2023

Farmers increasingly rely on irrigation to counter rising temperature and rainfall variability, leading to growth in energy demand and depletion of groundwater resources. The project aims to promote solar irrigation as a water-energy solution for climate-resilient and socially inclusive agrarian livelihoods in South Asia. Swiss innovation in groundwater monitoring through electricity use, efficient solar pumps and smart micro grids will be applied in the partner countries.

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