Source: Small Island Developing States
6 November 2018: The World Bank has announced a partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate innovative sanitation services through a programme that seeks to make available US$1 billion of financing. The Urban Sanitation Innovative Partnership seeks to increase sanitation access, especially by poor households, through a combination of policy reforms, financing, infrastructure and technology.
The partners launched their programme at the Reinvented Toilet Expo in Beijing, China, that was held from 6-8 November.
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim highlighted the Bank’s role in scaling up and financing the technological innovations and “disruptive thinking” that the Gates Foundation introduced. He noted the importance of sanitation access for all in achieving global health goals. The Bank has worked with the Gates Foundation on sanitation for the past two and a half years, and has committed US$10 billion to water and sanitation services over the past 25 years.
The question is no longer whether off-grid sanitation technologies are possible, but rather how quickly they can be financed and made widely available.
SDG target 6.2 seeks to achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all, and to end open defecation, while SDG indicator 3.9.2 identifies unsafe water, unsafe sanitation, and lack of hygiene services as an important factor in reducing premature death and illness.
The Reinvented Toilet Expo showcased off-grid sanitation technologies that do not require connections to water and sewer lines. Several companies from around the world announced the availability of pathogen-killing toilets and small-scale waste treatment plants, known as omni-processors, for sale to municipal authorities and others. Bill Gates, in his opening remarks at the Expo, noted that the question is no longer whether such technologies are possible, but rather how quickly they can be financed and made widely available.
In addition to the World Bank financing, other development finance institutions, including the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the African Development Bank (AfDB), also made commitments at the Expo, totaling US$2.5 billion in financing for projects. The Gates Foundation reports that this represents the largest-ever coordinated set of commitments that are directed specifically to urban sanitation, and will especially benefit low- and middle-income countries. The French Development Agency committed to doubling its sanitation funding by 2022 to a level of US$683 million a year.
Citing estimates by the Boston Consulting Group, the Gates Foundation notes the business potential of the market for “reinvented toilets” to be worth US$6 billion a year by 2030. [World Bank Press Release] [Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Press Release]