March 2017: The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) launched its 2017-2020 strategy to provide equitable access to sanitation and hygiene around the world. The strategy seeks to improve menstrual hygiene services and end open defecation, putting in place steps towards achieving target 6.2 under the Sustainable Development Goal 6 on clean water and sanitation (SDG 6).
Approximately 2.4 billion people in the world currently do not have adequate sanitation, and one billion still defecate outdoors. The WSSCC strategy highlights the costs to society in terms of child mortality related to waterborne diseases, and the lost school days and work opportunities for girls and women who do not have access to facilities for maintaining menstrual hygiene. The World Bank estimates that meeting global sanitation needs will cost around US$1.8 trillion.
SDG 6.2 calls for everyone to have access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene, with special attention to the needs of women, girls, and those in vulnerable situations. The four-year WSSCC strategy seeks to achieve this through a combination of behavioural change programmes, policy advocacy, capacity building and South-South learning. It is the first in a series of rolling plans aiming to achieve SDG 6.2 by the deadline of 2030.
The WSSCC is a membership organisation hosted by the UN. It supports governments in the areas of greatest need, including sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. It also acts as a convener of international discussions around the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) agenda, partnering with governments, organisations and private companies to promote health, education and livelihood outcomes through its work.
UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed chairs the WSSCC. She previously served as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on post-2015 development planning and was formerly Nigeria’s Minister for Environment.