United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Major Group: Women

Women's Major Group
Intervention on Sanitation for CSD-13
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
We endorse the Chair's draft text covering sanitation issues and would like to add the following
points.
Poverty prohibits people from paying for even basic connection and water services, as well as from
building toilets.
Safe land, tenure and property ownership, especially for women, fits into rights-based "human
settlement' 'approaches and will stimulate municipalities and individual households to invest in
sanitation facilities. It is a precondition for access to water, sanitation and finances.
Setting national and local goals for sanitation access and using financial incentives such as
subsidies or tax-incentives (fitting into national policies) will stimulate private families, local
communities and businesses to invest in non-polluting toilets and develop information campaigns
on water, hygiene and sanitation. Equipping and empowering women to play their part should be
an integrated part of plans and measures regarding sanitation. Ongoing programmes aimed at
behavioural changes AND vocational training - and not just short term projects - are needed.
Water is not necessarily required for good sanitation; good sanitation does not necessarily increase
water usage. Eco-sanitation solutions use less water, are less polluting, often low cost, and in many
cases more women-friendly. The World Health Organization can give information and guidance for
allowing resource- recovery from human waste through appropriate national and international
guidelines and regulations. The agricultural sector provides a market for nutrient rich products
recovered from human excreta.
Government and NGO efforts for reconstruction after disasters - whether human-made or caused
by nature - should include adequate gender and cultural sensitive sanitation facilities. Involvement
of the local community and incorporating the women's perspective in deciding about the design,
location, etc. of these facilities is imperative and will make the investment sustainable.
Women's biology requires different sanitation facilities; adequate facilities that take this into
account will bring girls to school, make it possible for women to work, and in general, improve
their health Therefore, it is imperative to have women participate in the design, building and
maintenance of sanitation to find workable solutions for their situation.
It will:
- create adequate facilities in terms of hygiene and reproductive health
- take into account privacy demands and help prevent sexual assault,
- help find solutions for cultural restraints
- will turn the facilities into a good sustainable investment in health and will reduce among
other things the long term cost of healthcare.
We must go from principles to practise, from paper to action.
A phrase like "please dispose sanitary towels in the bin" is a paper instruction in many places in
women's toilets. Good instruction - what about the possibility to practise?
International commitments on gender, poverty and water have to be put into practise. Formal and
informal women's organizations can and will assist in this. Thank you.