United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Mr. George Essegbey (Statement)

SESSION 2a: STI for ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all (SDG6)
Speaking Notes – Dr. George Owusu Essegbey
I choose to focus my talk on Target 6.2 – 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.
Sanitation is about managing human waste in all its forms in a manner that is effective, efficient, reflecting human dignity and contributing to well-being. Currently there are serious challenges even as we have made progress in our global efforts at good sanitation. We note that currently, about 68% of the world population is estimated to have access to at least basic sanitation according to the Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP, 2017). It is fairly good progress. However, the challenges are still huge. For example,
- There are 2.3 billion people who still lack at least basic sanitation services using either open defecation or unimproved facilities such as pit latrines without a slab or platform, hanging latrines or bucket latrines.
- About 892 million practice open defecation, which is the worst form of human waste disposal.
- The differences in the sanitation situation in the world is striking. For example, while North America and Europe have 78% of the population using safely managed sanitation services, only 28% of the people in Sub-Saharan Africa have basic sanitation services.
- Sixteen of the 24 countries in which at least one person in five has limited sanitation services are found in sub-Saharan Africa.
- More than 20% of the people in SSA practice open defecation (JMP, 2017).
All those statistics and more, reflect the very serious challenge confronting us in sanitation as we strive towards achieving SDG6.2. It calls for some very drastic and innovative ideas to address the challenge. It is against this background that the guiding questions are answered as follows:

What are the most effective ways for STI support?
1. Technological solutions to address the following:
• Appropriate solutions for the diverse country contexts and ensure first choice for majority of people (e.g. ventilated pit latrines with good ventilations comparable to open defecation)
• Affordable as cost is always a factor and for poorer segments of the populations, cost is key
• Accessible and available: technologies must be within reach implying better strategies for diffusion. The Online Platform of the TFM is potentially a good vehicle for global diffusion of sanitation innovations.
2. Acculturation:
When it comes to sanitation, we must wage war! Poor sanitation practices are often culturally embedded. So, there is need for cultural revolution with the intent of changing mindsets, behaviours and cultures. STI intervention must facilitate intensive public education and societal reformation to change existing cultures.
• Mass media activities, especially the deployment of FM and television, which currently are pervasive in all countries;
• Internet – social media which is diffusing among the lower stratum of the population (facebook and wassup)
• Content for mass communication and public education (e.g. animation clips?)
• Focus on schools/ educational institutions especially at the basic level where habits are formed and they translate into character.
3. Technological systems for surveillance of communities to support enforcement
4. Monitoring and evaluation systems for governments to track progress or non-progress

What are the main challenges for developing, adopting, disseminating or scaling these STI solutions?
• Culture – the norms, traditions and entrenched behaviours in communities;
• Inappropriate technologies;
• High costs (relative)
• Lack or inadequate capabilities (for repair and maintenance and improvement)
• Lack of ownership of sanitation campaigns on the part of primary beneficiaries;
• Weak policy regimes (implementation, enforcement, M&E)

What are the R&D gaps?
- Adaptation and improvement (to ensure technological solutions address the 3As (appropriate, affordable and accessible)
- Scaling out
- Upgrading e.g. from pit latrines to biosanitation systems producing biogas for domestic use
- Monitoring and evaluation systems and for socio-cultural research to guide policy formulation and implementation.

How to structure and organize the 2018 STI Forum?
More dramatization and graphics
- video presentations on sanitation, technological solutions/ innovations, content for mass communication, success stories
- Focused discussions on what must be done in deprived communities.

What should be the expected outcomes and concrete recommendations?
- for technology transfer?
- international partnerships for diffusion of technologies/ innovations, scaling out, capacity building, etc.

Who are the key partners to involve?
- innovators in sanitation services;
- relevant NGOs e.g. Water Aid, Care International ,
- UN agencies including UNDP, UNESCO, UNICEF, the World Bank;
- Regional bodies e.g. African Union, ECOWAS, SADC, EAC, EU
- Bilateral agencies e.g. DANIDA, DfID, CIDA, USAID, GIZ,