Private Sector and water supply, sanitation and hygiene – Report
This discussion paper has been commissioned by UNICEF and the UN Foundation in order:
To provide a clear language and framework, articulating the diverse ways the private sector can engage in support of universal access to and use of WASH.
To identify actionable ways forward for catalytic forms of engagement between private sector organisations and institutions working on WASH.
In responding to these needs, we aim to enable a more specific and coherent conversation about what the water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector is asking of the private sector, and what the WASH sector offers to the private sector in return. Our findings are based on interviews with over 60 individuals, representing over 40 organisations from the private sector, government, civil society organisations, NGOs, multilaterals and partnership organisations. The paper responds to the interest of the UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson in this area, as expressed in his Call to Action on Sanitation. Our analysis and recommendations are framed around the unique opportunity created by the agreement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, on water and
sanitation (and hygiene), and SDG 17, on the means of implementation and the global partnership for sustainable development. To achieve SDG 6 requires the commitment of the private sector – a fact that is recognised at the core of the concept of “global partnership”, promoted under SDG 17. In this paper, we highlight ways that the private sector can be engaged in support of SDG 6, and
particularly the targets on WASH, to generate business return at the same time as societal value. Specific areas for action include linking the public sector and larger companies in efforts to strengthen the domestic and small-scale private sector; collaborating to meet the WASH needs of people at work, as well as in their homes and communities; and facilitating forms of engagement at global level that can support country governments to engage their own private sectors in support of SDG 6. We look across the WASH sector at the diverse range of businesses, from
individual entrepreneurs to multinationals, which are active and emerging in the sector. We seek to learn from the lessons of the past and highlight the need to agree on common principles and minimum standards, including respect for the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation. We structure the discussion into three parts, as a first contribution towards providing a clear framework and language. As such, we map and analyse:
The Private Sector in WASH – how to build viable business models to provide and sustain WASH services
The Private Sector for WASH – how to leverage private sector contributions to the enabling environment for WASH
The Private Sector and WASH Sector – how to frame mutually beneficial mechanisms for private sector and WASH organisations to engage at global policy level, in ways that support country plans and strategies for universal access to WASH