Habitat III Event: Intersections: Bringing together necessary elements for Inclusive, Sustainable Sanitation Strategies in Cities

IHC Global hosted a networking event called “Intersections: Bringing together necessary elements for Inclusive, Sustainable Sanitation Strategies in Cities” at the Habitat III conference in Quito on October 19, 2016. Moderator Sanitation Panel 1Judith Hermanson, IHC Global’s President and CEO, introduced the topic and the panelists by noting the diverse perspectives that each would bring and framing the inherent complexity of the urban sanitation challenge, requiring policy, investment, and programmatic “intersections” at the individual, community, municipal levels. Susana M. Rojas Williams from Habitat for Humanity International spoke about Habitat for Humanity’s systemic approach to sanitation and its efforts to convene the various stakeholders involved in sanitation efforts such as community councils, homeowners associations, local agencies and utilities, and microfinance institutions, in order to help them build trust. Alberto Wilde from Global Communities spoke about Global Communities’ sanitation efforts in Ghana, noting both the complex challenges to sanitation in Ghana such as lack of political will, lack of space, informal land title, and poor soil quality, as well as the comprehensive activities Global Communities engages in around community mapping, water and drainage solutions, innovation toilet solutions, social behavior change communication, and micro-loans for businesses. Lianne Romahi of the International City/County Management Association spoke of the potential of public-private partnerships to address constraints in local governance finance mechanisms. She spoke about ICMA’s efforts to facilitate mentorship and knowledge sharing for members who haven’t had experience with PPPs before. Cecilia Rodrigues from the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance shared the alliance’s efforts over time to contribute to achieving first the sanitation-related MDG, and now the Sanitation panel 2sanitation SDG. She brought up the point that sanitation can contribute to fulfilling other SDGs. For instance, proper sanitation in schools and access to menstrual pads for girls can contribute to the achievement of the education SDG. Finally, Roshan Shrestha from the Gates Foundation urged us to think about the full life-cycle of sanitation and “pay attention to what happens after the toilet flushes.” Overall, the panel provided a complex and multi-dimensional portrait of what needs to be considered in sanitation efforts and the important progress that has been made.

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