United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Key Sanitation Issues: Contribution by UN-HABITAT
1. First and foremost, Sanitation needs an institutional home. Currently,
the responsibility for sanitation provision is spread over a number of
ministries and departments, both at national and local levels.
2. For effective policy response, official statistics need to adequately
reflect the current sanitation gap, in low-income, including illegal
3. Investment in sanitation remains to a large extent a household choice
and is closely linked to security of tenure. From these considerations,
there is a good case to locate the institutional responsibility for
sanitation within the Ministry of Housing / local authorities.
4. The creation of demand for sanitation remains a major challenge for
national and local authorities. Much greater emphasis is required on
social marketing and on public awareness raising. Support to
sanitation and hygiene education and campaigns such as WASH
should be closely linked to investments in physical provision of
5. Future water supply expansion projects supported through ODA
should include a component on low-cost sanitation, targeted to the
6. Building partnerships among CBOs, NGOs, Local Authorities and the
private sector is crucial to scale up sanitation initiatives city-wide.
National policies and budgetary support to local authorities should
pro-actively promote such partnerships. There is proven experience
that such partnerships can generate additional income / employment
for the poor.
7. Improving sanitation facilities in schools should be seen as strategic to
reducing current gender gap in school enrolments.
8. Innovative financing mechanisms such -as loan guarantee schemes
should be promoted to provide low-income households with access to
institutional finance for the provision of basic sanitation facilities.
9. Monitoring mechanisms should reflect the voices and choices of the
people, particularly the poor communities, who are the real targets of
IO.The impact of poor sanitation on water quality should be taken into
account in developing IWRM plans at national level.