United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

WASH Accountability for Sustainability programme

Stockholm International Water Institute, SIWI (

    The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) six sets the bar high for the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector. Working towards universal access for all requires systematic and rigorous work on systems strengthening in order to make sure that services and systems we put in place are sustainable. Against this background, UNICEF 2018-2021 Strategic Plan clearly stipulates that to address the challenges related to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), UNICEF “will continue to work with partners to strengthen national systems, with particular attention to gender considerations.” The UNICEF 2016-2030 WASH Strategy underscores Accountability and Enabling Environment as aspects to “do better”. In accordance, this partnership with UNDP - SIWI WGF is proposed to enhance accountability and enabling environment, systematically within UNICEF WASH programming. More integrated and structured technical assistance by the UNDP - SIWI WGF within UNICEF country-level programming will in turn systematically improve the sustainability of its water and sanitation service delivery to those who need it the most.

    Implementation of the Project/Activity

    The overall thematic scope of the programme is linked to Enabling Environment, accountability and sustainability and includes support for: • Improving Accountability and Anti-corruption activities in programming, and the link with Enabling Environment and Human Rights. • Generating evidence and technical support for implementing Sustainability Checks and the Sustainability Framework. • Conducting and documenting WASH BAT process (water, sanitation and hygiene bottleneck analysis) • Rolling out the Enabling Environment training package in different regions. • Programming activities in Enabling Environment aspects such as Accountability & Regulation, policies and strategies, coordination, budget and financing. • Providing desk support to UNICEF Country Offices and Headquarters to develop and review relevant tools and processes. • Technical Assistance to countries about governance issues. • Technical Assistance to countries for climate resilient WASH and water scarcity mitigation. • Developing guidance and technical briefs. • Regional and national trainings/workshops and global learning webinars. • Development of knowledge/evidence papers.


    As the partnership and programme has been running since 2014 and providing outreach support to countries globally, there are numerous results achieved at different scales. One area of foundational support to countries has been support to implement the WASH Bottleneck Analysis Tool (WASHBAT). A recently global review of the WAHSBAT and its implementation was undertaken in 2020 and showed concrete results in terms of the tool helping to catalyse WASH policy and governance reform. Specific outcomes achieved are shown below: Behavioural outcomes: improved coordination, cooperation, trust and leadership Enabling environment outcomes: WASH plans, strategic plans, master plans, national WASH programmes, JSRs, road maps to end open defecation, SWA commitments.

    Enabling factors and constraints

    Enabling conditions required for success in support to countries is the engagement and local ownership of enabling environment strengthening and governance reform processes from governments, supported by UNICEF. Constraints often cited by partners include lack of sufficient financing to effect the identified WASH policy and governance reforms.

    Sustainability and replicability

    Sustainability of WASH services is the central premise of the programme. Specifically for the WASH Bottleneck Analysis Tool (WASHBAT), the programme works with the countries to setup monitoring and accountability mechanisms that are responsible for tracking the implementation of WASH sector performance strengthening action plans. The WASHBAT has been replicated already across more than 30 countries and has more recently been adapted to factor in climate and water scarcity risks into the analysis, with more countries interested in replication the adapted approach.

    COVID-19 Impact

    COVID-19 affected programme implementation, in the sense that the usual country support missions were almost completely stopped for 2020. SIWI have worked with UNICEF to adjust to providing more remote support to countries, at least whilst travel options remain limited. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, that has a strong links to WASH, SIWI led a global COVID-19 WASH Response Monitoring initiative for 84 countries in partnership with UNICEF (see: https://www.siwi.org/what-we-do/water-sanitation-response-to-covid-19/). The results have informed strengthening of the COVID-19 WASH response in over 10 countries. Furthermore, SIWI and UNICEF are currently finalizing a study on the COVID-19 WASH Response for Safe school reopening in LAC and MENA.

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    UNICEF, UNDP-SIWI Water Governance Facility, SIWI
    Other beneficiaries

    The partnership between UNICEF and UNDP-SIWI Water Governance Facility aims to provide UNICEF and UNDP WASH staff, their government and non-government counterparts with the accountability tools and guidance they need to achieve improved governance and thereby help shape programmes to deliver increased sustainability. The “Accountability for Sustainability” collaboration has proven successful particularly in developing and providing knowledge, capacity and technical support to the UNICEF Headquarter, regional offices and country offices within the Accountability and Sustainability topics. It also aims to raise awareness of how important it is to invest in sustainability from the outset of programming. This partnership between UNICEF and the UNDP-SIWI Water Governance Facility aims to give staff the accountability tools and guidance they need to improve governance and deliver increased sustainability. • In 2014, UNICEF and the UNDP-SIWI Water Governance Facility partnered to implement a program – “Accountability for Sustainability” – to increase the sustainability of UNICEF-supported WASH interventions through enhancing accountability and Enabling Environment in the service delivery framework. • In 2018, UNICEF signed up to a new phase of this partnership including global outreach. • In 2018, UNICEF signed up to a partnership agreement with the MENA region. • In 2019, UNICEF Latin America and Caribbean Regional Office and SIWI signed a new partnership agreement to continue enhancing accountability and enabling environment, in UNICEF WASH programmes in LAC.

    More information
    Contact Information

    Alejandro , Director, Water and Sanitation Department