Copenhagen, 15 May 2020
The UNOPS-hosted Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council’s (WSSCC) new 2021-2025 strategy paves the way for the organization to become the Sanitation and Hygiene Fund, to effectively support the world’s most vulnerable people.
The establishment of the Sanitation and Hygiene Fund marks a major milestone in the transformation of WSSCC and as the COVID-19 pandemic is showing us, this could not be timelier – sanitation and hygiene at home as well as in schools and health facilities is critical to fight COVID-19 and similar outbreaks.”
Moin Karim – UNOPS Geneva Director and Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia
Ensuring access to adequate levels of sanitation and hygiene is more urgent than ever. The lack of access to appropriate hygiene and sanitation leaves large numbers of people exposed to outbreaks and pandemics of infectious disease, such as diarrheal diseases, cholera, Ebola and COVID-19. It is also connected to high rates of maternal and neonatal deaths, inadequate sexual and reproductive health, the spread of antimicrobial resistance, sepsis and malnutrition.
Women and girls are disproportionately affected by poor sanitation, hygiene and menstrual health, which limits their mobility, freedom of choice and ability to access services and opportunities. It also puts them at greater risk of gender-based violence. Today, access to adequate sanitation and hygiene remains one of the greatest barriers to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
WSSCC has already reached millions of people around the world with essential and often life-saving interventions in sanitation and hygiene. The Sanitation and Hygiene Fund will build on WSSCC’s achievements and the support provided by its longstanding partners to support eligible countries to access increased and catalytic financing to close gaps in their national sanitation and hygiene strategies.
Mr. Karim further noted:
“Country ownership of the process to secure equitable public health is essential and the Fund will support national governments to take costed plans and strategies for sanitation and hygiene forward. As we all fight to see a fairer world emerge through the COVID-19 experience, UNOPS is proud to support WSSCC, and now the Sanitation and Hygiene Fund, in this journey.”
“Today, we recognize the need for a global approach, a transformative approach, and a long-term approach […] we are calling upon world leaders to help us fill a void in the international response to the sanitation, hygiene, and menstrual health crisis,” said Chair of WSSCC, Hind Khatib-Othman.