Access to water and sanitation is a universal right

19.11.2015, Chiredzi District, Zimbabwe. Toilet facilities at the Ruware primary school.
Access to water and sanitation is a human right. Schoolchildren washing their hands in front of the toilet facilities at the Ruware primary school in Chiredzi District, Zimbabwe. © Andreas Steiner, SDC

Today, around 844 million people have no access to safe drinking water. The SDC is working to ensure that people have reliable supplies of drinking water and adequate sanitation. Recognised as a human right since 2010, access to drinking water and sanitation are essential to meeting basic human needs.

SDC focus

Water is common property, and access to drinking water and sanitation is a human right. The SDC works to ensure that people have adequate supply of drinking water and access to sanitation and treatment plants enabling them to maintain adequate hygiene. Switzerland has extensive expertise in the field of water that is recognised across the globe and supports a range of activities:

  • applied research and innovation
  • financing to improve access to water and wastewater disposal worldwide
  • developing new approaches to services and new partnerships with the private sector (water stewardship)
  • upscaling of infrastructure programmes. It also provides capacity building and training to ensure that facilities function properly.

The SDC brings the practical experience it has gained to political dialogue between governments, the private sector and civil society in order to promote mutual learning and support the implementation of workable, sustainable solutions.

Background

According to the UN, around 844 million people currently have no access to drinking water. Furthermore, 2.3 billion people live without adequate sanitation facilities and 892 million still practice open defecation. Poor sanitation conditions alone cause 80% of the diseases prevalent in developing countries. Around the world, 1,000 children under the age of five die every day from diarrhoeal diseases as a result of drinking contaminated water. However, in many cases the problem is not due to a shortage of water as such but rather to the absence of national and international funding commitments to provide access to water of suitable quality where it is needed. For that reason, the SDC seeks to cooperate with all stakeholders in developing a system that in the long term will enable everyone to enjoy access to clean drinking water.

Documents

Current projects

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Sustainable Natural Resources Management (NRM) for Enhanced Pastoralist Food Security in the Borana Zone, Ethiopia.

01.01.2022 - 31.12.2027

Natural resources, particularly water and pasture, are among the key determinants of pastoralist livelihoods’ sustainability. The proposed Project contributes to the outcomes of the SDC’s Food Security Domain as stipulated in the Swiss Cooperation Strategy Horn of Africa. It aims at improving pastoralist food security and adaptive capacities in the lowlands of Borana Zone, Southern Ethiopia, through enhancing the sustainable management of natural resources.


Territorial water governance in the Gulf of Fonseca Region - phase II

01.04.2021 - 30.06.2024

The Program facilitates the empowerment of the Watershed Councils of the Nacaome, Choluteca and Sampile rivers in the Gulf of Fonseca Region in terms of their leadership and sustainable and participatory management of the water governance system. This contributes to collaborative processes and investments in the frame of the formulation and implementation of watershed plans, indirectly benefiting 500,000 inhabitants.


Resilience for Pastoralist Communities in Northern Kenya

01.03.2021 - 31.07.2025

Pastoralism is a millennia old livelihood strategy adapted to the marginal and harsh environ-ments of Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL). In order to support pastoralists, this programme contributes to strengthening public and private institutions in the water and livestock sectors, putting policy frameworks in place to ensure efficient county-wide and cross-border water and rangeland management systems, and to increase access to water and pasture.


Investing in UN-Water: accelerating progress on SDG 6

01.02.2021 - 31.12.2025

UN-Water is the ‘one voice’ of the UN system on all water and sanitation related issues. It is responsible for the monitoring and reporting of SDG 6 and strengthens the global water agenda. By maintaining its support to UN-Water, the SDC helps to reduce the fragmentation of the water sector and contributes to accelerating the achievement of SDG 6, thus keeping its global commitment towards the 2030 Agenda. 


Towards effective Global Water Governance (Core contribution to the Global Water Partnership)

01.01.2021 - 31.12.2025

Sound and integrated water resources management is needed more than ever to respond to the global water crisis and to translate the agenda 2030 on water into action. Multi-stakeholder networks such as the Global Water Partnership (GWP) play a crucial role in supporting inclusive decision-making and in moderating between different interest groups and perspectives to enable the creation and maintenance of momentum for coordinated action.


Hands4health Hand hygiene, water quality and sanitation in primary health care facilities and schools not connected to a functional water supply system

01.12.2020 - 31.12.2024

Current technologies and approaches to improve water, sanitation and hygiene are fragmented. Hands4health focuses on the development, testing, evaluation and scaling up of new water efficient hand washing technologies as well as on a holistic approach to hand hygiene, water quality and sanitation. To leave no one behind, the project works in primary health care facilities and schools not connected to a functional water supply system in in four target countries and beyond. 


Sustainable and Innovative Rural Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (SIRWASH)

01.10.2020 - 31.12.2024

The Sustainable and Innovative Rural Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (SIRWASH) initiative improves enabling policy, innovation and knowledge environments and fosters the required capacities to provide sustainable quality water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services to rural communities – in particular poor households and vulnerable people – in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Haiti and Peru. It builds on Switzerland’s over 20 years of experience in strengthening rural WASH systems in Peru and Colombia.


RésEAU cum Aguasan (formerly SDC Water Network RésEAU’)

01.10.2020 - 30.09.2025

Water security is a key prerequisite of sustainable development and for achieving the Agenda 2030. Herein SDC’s Water Network ‘RésEAU’ plays a key role in supporting efforts towards a water secure world by strengthening the required thematic expertise, helping to better capitalize key learnings and supporting transformational change in line with the new Bill 2021-2024. The next phase of the RésEAU will allow to be ‘fit for purpose’ and to better respond to future challenges and opportunities.


Contribution au Mécanisme de réponse rapide (MRR) pour la riposte CoVID-19

01.09.2020 - 30.04.2021

La COVID-19 a impacté la capacité des acteurs humanitaires à conduire leurs activités alors que le pays est frappé par des mouvements de populations sans précédents. Suite à une demande du consortium du Mécanisme de réponse rapide (MRR) – dont Action contre la Faim (ACF) est le chef de file –, cette proposition de crédit a pour objectif de contribuer à atténuer les effets négatifs de l’épidémie sur la capacité des acteurs humanitaires à porter assistance aux personnes impactées par la crise actuelle.


Water and Comprehensive Sanitation Project in Rural Areas (ASIR – SABA), Phase III

01.06.2020 - 31.07.2022

The ASIR-SABA Project aims to contribute to the sustainable management and governance of water and sanitation, as well as public health, as a contribution to the consolidation of peace in rural areas of the country. To achieve its objective, the project promotes dialogue between the different actors of the WASH sector in Colombia. It also aims to strengthen the capacities at the community and institutional level (national, departmental and municipal) for the co-management of water and sanitation in rural areas of the country.

Based on the achievements capitalized by the project in its first and second phases and the challenges and opportunities identified with the different governmental actors of the WASH sector in Colombia, the SDC implements the third and final phase of the ASIR-SABA project.


"Swiss Bluetec Bridge" - mettre la technologie des start-up suisses du secteur de l'eau au service des pauvres

01.02.2020 - 31.05.2024

Si les défis auxquels sont confrontés le secteur de l'eau ouvrent un large champ aux innovations technologiques, notamment dans l'approvisionnement en eau potable, ces innovations servent rarement les populations démunies. Le Swiss Bluetec Bridge rempli le vide entre soutien public aux PME et investissements privés afin que les entreprises suisses innovantes mettent de manière durable leurs technologies de pointe au service des pauvres.


Contribution to IFRC Emergency Appeal: Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak

31.01.2020 - 31.12.2020

As of 06. February 2020 a total of 28’292 infections and 565 deaths have been reported with the majority of the cases occurring in China.

The preliminary Emergency Appeal from the IFRC is seeking Swiss Francs 3 Million to support Red Cross Red Crescent Societies globally, to contribute to stopping transmission of the virus, and helping to ensure the health and dignity of communities affected by the outbreak. IFRC will work closely with National Societies in countries where transmission has taken place, and on preparedness measures for all countries. The main area of focus for this response is Health and WASH, which will include risk communication and community engagement, psychosocial support, capacity building of NS on epidemic response and support. Other areas of focus are protection, gender and inclusion and migration. While at the moment the response is largely in the Asia Pacific region, the IFRC is supporting National Societies in at risk countries with preparedness activities. The IFRC at global, country and regional level is coordinating with other agencies including WHO, UNICEF and CDC in information sharing and guidance.

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