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New Handbook for ministers of finance: the economic potential of water, sanitation and hygiene policies in times of COVID-19

Sanitation and Water for All Secretariat
13 Aug 2020

The Sanitation and Water for All global partnership (SWA) released today a pioneering Handbook that compiles best practices and guidance on the use of public funding and mobilizing new financing for water, sanitation and hygiene. This evidence shows that water, sanitation and hygiene can play a central role in supporting ministers responsible for finance and governments in general respond to the pressing global challenges facing us, such as COVID-19, climate change and inequalities.

The success stories in the Financial Handbook “Water & Sanitation: How to Make Public Investment Work?” highlight how effective financial strategies have been in increasing people’s access to water and sanitation, but also in generating substantial benefits for public health, the economy and the environment. 

Adequate water and sanitation services are a key driver for economic growth, especially in certain economic sectors such as healthcare, fisheries, tourism and property markets. The total economic losses associated with inadequate services are estimated at US$260 billion annually, which is roughly equivalent to an average annual loss of 1.5% of global Gross Domestic Product. Also, approximately 10% of the global burden of disease worldwide could be prevented with improvements to water, sanitation and hygiene and better water resource management worldwide.

The Finance Handbook is part of an initiative by the Sanitation and Water for All global partnership to provide succinct insights, practical advice and curated knowledge to ministers and high-level decisions-makers. 

The Hon. Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia and SWA’s High-level Chair, stated Despite its clear benefits for the economy, health and the environment, the water and sanitation sector continues to struggle to get the political attention it needs and deserves. To make the most of existing resources and to generate the unprecedented levels of additional finance we require to achieve the global goals we have set, the sector needs to ensure water and sanitation is seen as an opportunity for investment, and not just a drain on national budgets. But clearly, we require new thinking and new approaches – many of which are highlighted in this Handbook.

Catarina de Albuquerque, SWA’s CEO said, At a time where evidence shows us clearly that access to water, sanitation and hygiene is indispensable for building ‘forward’ better, for rebuilding economies, going back to school, preventing exposure to COVID-19 and reducing the stress on often fragile and under-resourced health systems, this Handbook provides national governments and their international partners with an indispensable tool to translate good intentions into reality.”

FINANCE HANDBOOK ON WATER & SANITATION - How to Make Public Investment Work