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A Challenge Paper on Water and Sanitation

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The world has met the MDG on the provision of clean drinking water five years early, but is set to miss its goal on basic sanitation by almost 1 billion people. An astonishing one-third of the world population, 2.5 billion people, lack access to basic sanitation and over one billion people defecate out in the open. Copenhagen Consensus 2012 asked Frank Rijsberman and Alix Peterson Zwane from the Gates Foundation to establish the best ways to reduce the size of this challenge.

Development agencies over-emphasize safe water projects and under-invest in sanitation, according to Rijsberman and Zwane. They look at what it would cost to improve service for both the unserved population in developing countries, those one billion or so who must defecate in the open, and what it would cost to improve the quality of service for those people in urban areas who are nominally “served” but struggle to realize the gains from sanitation because of the challenges of emptying and safely disposing of latrine or septic tank contents.

They propose three solutions as potentially worthy of large scale investment.

1) Community-led Total Sanitation
2) Sanitation as Business
3)The Reinvented Toilet

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Date: 3 May 2012