- Reseach project
- – Western Pacific
A critical, but devastating, lesson from the global pandemic has been the lack of resilience of many water-supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) systems. Climate change will have even more serious effects on WASH systems, setting back the critical path to sustainable development and poverty alleviation outlined in the SDGs, and further exacerbating inequalities.
Water security is fundamental to the resilience of WASH to climate change; holistic-thinking and integration across water resources and WASH sectors is critical to water security. This means thinking about, governing and managing water as a whole system rather than by its parts – applying integrated water management to connect water resources management with WASH (water supply, sanitation and hygiene).
We need to develop policies and practices to connect catchment-scale management of water resources with local-scale WASH management actions; to consider the social and economic systems of water – which reach into livelihoods, health, education, energy, primary industry sectors such as agriculture and farming, mining, forestry and fisheries; to weave together sustainable water resources and WASH development with disaster resilience and climate mitigation; and to go beyond conventional WRM and WASH enabling actors for assistance with reaching everyone, sustaining development and addressing financing challenges. Reducing inequalities and social exclusion, and preparing for future scenarios, must be at the forefront of this thinking, governing and managing.