Sustainable access to WASH for epidemic prevention and climate action for an additional 10 million people by 2030
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
Civil society organization
The IFRC’s One WASH initiative aims to deliver immediate and sustained solutions to water borne epidemics and pandemics, climate action, poverty reduction and more. Through preparedness and response for emergencies, sustainable provision of WASH and coordination, One WASH provides the framework for addressing a host of issues affecting the most vulnerable. One WASH is unique because it spans the emergency development divide and harnesses the collective capacity of our network of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. One WASH promotes a common yet adaptable approach for Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies to establish large-scale, long-term and integrated public health and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects. The IFRC and its membership have reached over 35 million people with sustainable access to WASH since 2005. The integrated approach of One WASH aims, between now and 2030, to reach a minimum of 10 million vulnerable people in over 20 countries at high risk of epidemics and the effects of climate change.
One WASH will invest in sustainable long-term WASH programs, increasing access to levels that will reduce and prevent cholera and climate shocks. Year-round health and hygiene behavior change communication and social marketing programs will be implemented in communities, including advocacy and support to cholera vaccination campaigns. One WASH aims to improve access to safe water and adequate sanitation by constructing and rehabilitating facilities, as well as supporting the application of good hygiene practices and community water management. Hygiene behavior change interventions are delivered to ensure communities understand which hygiene practices may contribute to their increased risk of disease and which may play a preventative role.
The ONE WASH program concept seeks to reduce vulnerability and increase resilience by combining integrated public health and WASH projects that:
• Improve community-based surveillance, preparedness and response capacity for cholera outbreaks and other potential epidemics and pandemics.
• Increase investment in sustainable WASH infrastructure, adoption of climate ‘SMART’ WASH technology and innovative operation and management systems.
• Scale up public health initiatives to improve nutrition, vaccination coverage, and health awareness.
• Scale up investment in small scale food and livestock production linked to water supply, environmental protection, and water resource management.
• Contribute to Government, other humanitarian and development actors and private sector efforts by supporting improved coordination, collective action, capacity building, inclusiveness and partnership development.
One WASH will provide direct, concrete and measurable action on SDG 6. While increased collaboration and cooperation is a key aspect of the work, its main aim is to reduce the risk of epidemics and the effects of climate change by increasing the number of people in vulnerable communities who have access to sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene.
We urgently need to accelerate and scale up water action to mitigate the impacts of water related risks and increase the climate resilience of the most vulnerable communities. Without urgent, coordinated and large-scale action to tackle water-related risks, we will fail to deliver the commitments taken under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 6, the Paris Agreement and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030.
The world needs more than words on this. We need to think about it in terms of investment. The return on investment in WASH, in terms of increased economic productivity and reduced expenditure in disaster response, is one of the highest in the humanitarian and development sector. Every death from cholera is preventable, we can build WASH infrastructure that resists climate shocks. If the world made the necessary investment in providing universal access to WASH, and we believe this is achievable, we would have fewer problems associated with climate change and a whole host of other benefits.
If we can combine more local, efficient response with reduced risk, we can face the challenge of climate change and leave no one behind.
Red Cross Red Crescent Societies, Donors, Governments
SDGS & Targets
Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all
Proportion of population using safely managed drinking water services
By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations
Proportion of population using (a) safely managed sanitation services and (b) a hand-washing facility with soap and water
By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally
Proportion of domestic and industrial wastewater flows safely treated
Proportion of bodies of water with good ambient water quality
Change in water-use efficiency over time
Level of water stress: freshwater withdrawal as a proportion of available freshwater resources
By 2030, implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate
Degree of integrated water resources management
Proportion of transboundary basin area with an operational arrangement for water cooperation
Change in the extent of water-related ecosystems over time
Amount of water- and sanitation-related official development assistance that is part of a government-coordinated spending plan
Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management
Proportion of local administrative units with established and operational policies and procedures for participation of local communities in water and sanitation management
SDG 14 targets covered
Deliverables & Timeline
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- Asia and Pacific
- Latin America and the Caribbean
- West Asia
10 million people in communities at risk of epidemics and climate shocks