Advancing the Global Conversation
Strengthening the environment for water and sanitation solutions
Success at scale depends on an environment that allows finance to flow to people living in poverty. We are committed to working with partners to influence public policy and practice changes that make more funds available to families and small enterprises for water and sanitation solutions. We also work directly with governments to design strategies so that existing budget resources can be deployed more efficiently and effectively to those most in need.
We actively share our data-supported knowledge and strategic financial guidance with these partners. These collaborative efforts help increase access to water and sanitation for people living in poverty, allowing us all to reach more people, faster. By using finance as a tool to increase access to safe water and sanitation, we can help leave aid dollars available for others in need.
Working at a systems level helps increase the flow of capital for household water and sanitation solutions.
Achieving this global goal requires financial solutions
Realizing safe water and sanitation for all will take more than the amount of funding the world is currently contributing to solving the global water crisis.
In 2018, the United Nation’s High Level Political Forum concluded the world is not on track to reach Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6), which calls for clean water and sanitation for all by 2030. This report echoes previous assessments that reveal significant financing, policy and governance gaps to achieving the goal.
The World Bank estimates $114 billion a year is needed to achieve safely managed water and sanitation and meet the SDG 6 targets. It will take three times more than what is currently being invested to achieve this. This represents a gap of $85.6 billion. Our approach helps bring in commercial finance that will help close the financing gap for water and sanitation. Solutions that strategically use donor funds to catalyze private investment – often referred to as blended finance – are critical to filling the financing gap.
Our global partners
We work with development finance institutions, international nonprofit organizations, United Nations agencies, commercial financial institutions, governments and others to increase access to safe water and sanitation.
Some of Water.org’s engagement partners include:
- Aqua for All
- Finish Society
- Government of India Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation
- India Sanitation Coalition
- Sanitation and Water for All (SWA)
- Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA)
- USAID's WASH Fin
- World Bank Group
- World Economic Forum
- World Health Organization
Encouraging lending for water and sanitation at the systems level in India
We worked with the Reserve Bank of India, the country’s central bank, to reclassify water and sanitation lending as a priority sector. They require banks to lend 40% of their assets to areas they designate as priority sectors. Previously the priority sectors were areas that could contribute to the development of India’s economy like agriculture, education, and housing for people living in poverty. Lending for water and sanitation was not considered a priority sector, so there was little opportunity for such a critical area of need. This reclassification resulted in a significant increase in bank lending to microfinance institutions and self-help groups making water and sanitation loans possible for people in need.
Introducing policy to encourage microfinance lending for water and sanitation in Ethiopia
The first comprehensive water and sanitation policy in Ethiopia, the One WASH National Programme, included a single sentence about the value of microfinance lending for water and sanitation. This was not enough to incentivize widespread lending across the country. As the next phase of the policy was developed, Water.org, along with others, helped develop language that outlined more comprehensive financing strategies. Water.org is now working with several partners to leverage this policy change and activate microfinance institutions to expand lending for water and sanitation.
- United Nations. (2018). UN reports that world is off track on water and sanitation goal
- World Bank Group. Hutton and Varughese. (2016). The Costs of Meeting the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal Targets on Drinking Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene
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