Tools for climate proofing WASH services

Mar 30, 2021 | Viewpoints

In 2014, UNICEF and Global Water Partnership (GWP) collaborated to develop a Strategic Framework for WASH Climate Resilience, which guides implementers in climate-proofing Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) services. Since its launch, WASH professionals in 79 countries have been trained and started implementation in the Strategic Framework, with 49 of them already advanced into it – using the technical briefs and tools provided in the Framework to better understand the risks of climate change in WASH services and communities.  

Climate change affects water access. Droughts and floods are increasing in severity and frequency and can often compromise existing water sources. Climate events also threaten sustained access to sanitation and hygiene services, particularly in flood-prone areas or where water levels are high and sanitation facilities are not safely managed.

The Strategic Framework for WASH Climate Resilience has four dimensions a.k.a quadrants shown in the diagram above.

The different dimensions of the Framework allow for identifying climate risks in a systematic manner and look for ways to incorporate those risks into the design of WASH services. The Framework supports WASH professionals to identify and appraise different WASH modalities, that are resilient to climate change and at the same time increase community resilience. We have gone onto developing additional resources to help mobilise finance for climate resilient WASH projects, and monitoring and evaluating the WASH projects.

Most recently, in 2020, a training package was designed jointly by GWP, UNICEF, and Cap-Net collaborating on an online course that covers all areas of the Framework for WASH Climate Resilience. Professionals from over 50 countries completed the first edition of the course.

During March 2021, UNICEF launched the Reimagining WASH: Water Security for All initiative, that aims to get global attention and increase action to deliver water security solutions to 450 million children and their families, living in areas of high or extremely high-water vulnerability, by 2025. Millions of these children are in Africa as more than half – 58% – of children in Eastern and Southern Africa live in water scarce areas and face difficulty accessing sufficient water every day. Meanwhile, close to a third – 31% – of children in West and Central Africa are in a similar vulnerable situation.

One of the dimensions of Reimagining WASH is to integrate climate-resilience into WASH services, therefore we expect that the Framework will support its implementation and success. To that end, will be looking forwards to expanding training and implementation of the Framework further with both physical and online trainings and continue to support implementation of the framework at country level.

More information about the Strategic Framework for WASH Climate Resilience and the available tools is available here.

Written by: Silvia Gaya by UNICEF Senior Advisor on WASH at UNICEF, New York.


Photo credit: Lesly Derksen on Unsplash