Access to water and sanitation is a universal right

19.11.2015, Chiredzi District, Zimbabwe. Toilet facilities at the Ruware primary school.
Access to water and sanitation is a human right. Schoolchildren washing their hands in front of the toilet facilities at the Ruware primary school in Chiredzi District, Zimbabwe. © Andreas Steiner, SDC

Today, around 844 million people have no access to safe drinking water. The SDC is working to ensure that people have reliable supplies of drinking water and adequate sanitation. Recognised as a human right since 2010, access to drinking water and sanitation are essential to meeting basic human needs.

SDC focus

Water is common property, and access to drinking water and sanitation is a human right. The SDC works to ensure that people have adequate supply of drinking water and access to sanitation and treatment plants enabling them to maintain adequate hygiene. Switzerland has extensive expertise in the field of water that is recognised across the globe and supports a range of activities:

  • applied research and innovation
  • financing to improve access to water and wastewater disposal worldwide
  • developing new approaches to services and new partnerships with the private sector (water stewardship)
  • upscaling of infrastructure programmes. It also provides capacity building and training to ensure that facilities function properly.

The SDC brings the practical experience it has gained to political dialogue between governments, the private sector and civil society in order to promote mutual learning and support the implementation of workable, sustainable solutions.

Background

According to the UN, around 844 million people currently have no access to drinking water. Furthermore, 2.3 billion people live without adequate sanitation facilities and 892 million still practice open defecation. Poor sanitation conditions alone cause 80% of the diseases prevalent in developing countries. Around the world, 1,000 children under the age of five die every day from diarrhoeal diseases as a result of drinking contaminated water. However, in many cases the problem is not due to a shortage of water as such but rather to the absence of national and international funding commitments to provide access to water of suitable quality where it is needed. For that reason, the SDC seeks to cooperate with all stakeholders in developing a system that in the long term will enable everyone to enjoy access to clean drinking water.

Documents

Current projects

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Production des Connaissances et Appui Institutionnel pour une gestion intégrée des Ressources en Eau au Tchad - ResEau

01.06.2024 - 31.05.2028

Le Tchad subit fortement les effets du changement climatique avec des pluviométries aléatoires. Le sous-sol du Tchad dispose d’un important potentiel en eau. Faute de compétences nationales, ces ressources en eau restent très peu mobilisées. La DDC renforce, à travers ce projet, les compétences et les connaissances nationales pour favoriser une gestion durable de ces ressources et contribue ainsi à la résilience du Tchad face aux changements climatiques.


Provision of CCCM, protection and social cohesion responses to Sudan crisis affected populations in Renk and Manyo Counties, Upper Nile

01.06.2024 - 31.12.2024

To respond to the needs of the growing number of refugees and returnees crossing the border into South Sudan due to the ongoing crisis in the Sudan, both in camp and host community settings. The intervention will improve CCCM, WASH2 and protection in Renk town, in the Transit Center (TC) at Renk and in the Reception Centre (RC) in Joda and Manyo.


Integrated Water Resources Management in Kosovo (IWRM-K)

01.05.2024 - 30.04.2029

Switzerland assists water sector related governments, civil society and private sector stakeholders in Kosovo in the development/implementation of a national integrated and sustainable water resources management framework. Support activities combined with capacity development and awareness building will contribute to enhanced conservation, protection, quality and equitable distribution of water resources. Thus the project also contributes to good governance, reduced risks of internal and transboundary water-related conflicts, the mitigation of climate change impact as well to enhanced the health of the population.


Direct action Chad WASH Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

01.04.2024 - 31.12.2024

Chad hosts over 565’000 refugees from the recent crisis in Sudan, adding to the 595’000 refugees already residing in the country. Acces to safe drinking water is one of the biggest challenges for the Humanitarian actors. SDC provides material to Médécins sans frontiers. for analysing potential water sources and distributing the drinking water obtained. Two SHA experts will introduce the material during a short mission to Chad.


UNICEF, EMOPS Geneva, Core Contribution 2024-2025

01.01.2024 - 31.12.2025

The Office of Emergency Programmes (EMOPS) ensures that the United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) role in complex emergencies is clearly defined, the organization properly equipped and prepared to deliver its mandate to support the needs of children. SDC’s support to EMOPS in Geneva enables UNICEF to lead inter-agency humanitarian coordination, response and standard setting in Water and Sanitation (WASH), Education, Nutrition and Child Protection.


VEN:Tierra Viva - Aten. Int. com. indig

15.10.2023 - 31.12.2024

In line with the 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan for Venezuela, Fundación Tierra Viva will provide humanitarian assistance in the sectors of health, nutrition and livelihoods to indigenous communities in the state of Bolivar and Delta Amacuro, with the aim of addressing the emergency nutritional situation of children, pregnant and lactating mothers and adults. As well as the recovery and strengthening of agricultural practices. 


Colombia: MIRE+, Assistance to Victims of Violence

01.10.2023 - 31.03.2025

The humanitarian crisis in Colombia continues despite growing efforts towards peace. Armed groups fighting for territory and valuable natural resources inflict extreme harm on rural and ethnic communities. In line with the Swiss interest to respond to humanitarian crises, SDC remains dedicated to supporting these communities, enhancing their individual and collective resilience. The project integrates humanitarian action with a developmental and peace orientation (nexus).


Humanitarian assistance to people affected by the protracted crisis in Venezuela

01.09.2023 - 31.12.2024

Despite a moderate recovery in some economic indicators during 2022, the Venezuelan economy continues to contract during 2023. Meanwhile, there is no improvement in the structural causes of the humanitarian crisis. As a result, the needs of the most vulnerable are still high. Therefore, Caritas aims to facilitate access on health, nutrition, food security and livelihoods, for vulnerable families in eight states according to the Guidance Note for Venezuela 2022-2024. 


Integrated assistance to the vulnerable population affected by migration in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru

01.09.2023 - 31.08.2024

The humanitarian situation in Venezuela continues to be critical, as well as the migration crisis of Venezuelans in the region, with more than 7 million Venezuelans abroad. High rates of cross-border mobility are registered with pendular migrants, travellers, returnees and unaccompanied minors. In this project, CISP will provide comprehensive assistance to vulnerable people in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and also Peru with a special focus on protection, WASH, health and livelihoods. 


Contribution to the Geneva Water Hub (2023-2027)

01.09.2023 - 31.08.2027

Globally, access to fresh water resources are dwindling due to growing demand, increasing pollution and climate change. The Geneva Water Hub, co-hosted by the University of Geneva and the Graduate Institute, is an international center of competence for transboundary water resources management. Through research, education, advocacy and mediation, the Hub addresses water insecurity in water scarce regions, helps to prevent water conflicts and contributes to peace, stability and sustainable development. 


Peru, SEDAPAL: Emergency Water Supply in Lima

01.08.2023 - 31.12.2027

Lima with a population of over 12 million is subject to the highest seismic vulnerability in Peru. Hence, ensuring Lima’s water supply continuity in case of a major earthquake is crucial. The initiative aims at contributing to strengthened preparedness capacities of Lima’s water service provider (SEDAPAL) by improving its technical, financial and logistical capacities, knowledge exchange and inter-sectorial coordination together with key partners from government, academia, and the private sector.


Multisectoral response to the humanitarian needs and protection risks of children, adolescents, and their families in the Orinoco Mining Arc.

15.06.2023 - 31.12.2024

The NRC intervention seeks to provide assistance in the sectors of Protection, Education, Food Security and Livelihoods, and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, to 6,483 direct beneficiaries, including children, adolescents, and their families in communities and schools of the Orinoco Mining Arc; a hotspot area for illegal mining and high levels of violence in Bolivar state, near the border between Venezuela and Brazil, a priority area for the SDC Guidance Note for Venezuela 2022-2024.

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