United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


CSD-13 on Water, Sanitation and Human Settlements
New York, March 11 to 22nd, 2005
Speaking Points Number 3
Thematic Session on Sanitation:
1) Providing access to adequate sanitation and hygiene
Date and Time: 01.3 : 15:00 ? 16:3 0 Conference Room 1
Responsible Person: Tatjana von Steiger
Mr. Chairperson
Switzerland would first like to thank you for your comprehensive summary of our discussions
during the IPM. Switzerland fully supports the practical measures listed in the summary.
We would like to emphasize a few points with regard to sanitation that should be reflected in
the negotiated policy decisions.
· In its comprehensive report on Sanitation as well as in its recently published report "In
larger freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all" the Secretary
General does not miss to point out that despite huge progress in some countries overall
access to sanitation is off track.
· In many parts of the world, sanitation is still seen as an unpopular obligation for the more
successful water programs. Lack of political commitment, cultural acceptance, and
awareness often leads to insufficient investment and poor performance. And the limited
public funds are invested in non-targeted subsidies, from which only a limited number of
households can benefit. This neglect of sanitation leads not only to infectious diseases,
but as well to significant economic losses.
· Sanitation is instrumental to achieving hygiene and better health, which is a universal
desire. This is the driving force for the promotion of sanitation. Switzerland fully agrees
with the Secretary Generals call to more investments and the need to ensure that
enhancing access to sanitation forms a part of development strategies. We firmly believe
that in order to halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without access to basic sanitation
there is a need for a paradigm shift.
The paradigm shift
· This paradigm shift builds upon an understanding of sanitation as a public good.
Achieving sanitation requires a change in knowledge attitude and practices of all
stakeholders, i.e. first and foremost relies on the political will and commitment to higher
investments, better performance and innovative, culturally and environmentally sensitive
approaches. Sanitation has to be put much, much higher on the agenda of donors and
governments. This leads to a drastically more active public health policy, focusing on
behavioral change, enhancing demand, support the development of markets and on the
promotion of appropriate technologies, since large parts of sanitation will be on -plot
sanitation. It requires a concerted effort of governments and civil society. This can be
done with social mobilization campaigns and/or financial incentives such as intelligent
subsidies to create demand for sanitation. Such subsidies must be high -impact
investments and should focus on sanitation facilities in public infrastructures such as
schools, health centers as well as target the poorest who cannot pay even for basic
· In recognizing this primary role governments play in creating a demand for sanitation,
Switzerland firmly believes that involving the private sector is one plausible option to
overcome the vicious circle of inadequate resources, failure, frustration and pessimism
regarding sanitation. We believe that, by using the dynamism of national and local small
scale private sector, it is possible to make a step further in public health and at the same
time create new jobs. With adequate support and incentives, local micro -enterprises have
the potential to deliver creative and innovative solutions that provide better services for all
customers, including the poor.
Crosscutting issues: Culture and Gender
· Finally ? as asked by the bureau - we would like to highlight the importance of two
crosscutting issues that play a pivotal role in enhancing sanitation:
· The success of sanitation programs depends on the appreciation of these programs by
the final user. Individuals and communities have to understand that unsanitary behavior
puts in danger not only themselves but the public in general. They therefore have to
understand the benefits of good hygiene practices, such as regular hand washing, and
accept the technologies or products as appropriate to their culture. A culturally sensitive
approach has to underlie these programs.
· The success and effective use of sanitation facilities depends on the involvement of both
women and men in selecting the location and technology of such facilities. A gender
sensitive approach is therefore crucial in providing access to sanitation, because there is
a strong link between the focus on gender and women?s participation on the one hand
and the degree of project sustainability on the other.