At World Water Week, a spotlight on WASH

The theme of the 2012 World Water Week is "Responding to Global Changes." Photo by: Steve Johnson / CC BY

The nexus of water and food security will be the theme of World Water Week, an annual event that will gather 2,500 scientists, officials, policymakers and aid workers this week. 

More than 150 seminars and events on topics from tracking the impact of water governance interventions to promoting gender equality in the water sector will engage participants around the theme “Responding to Global Changes.”

Advocates for an integrated approach to water, sanitation and hygiene will be among those expected to push for changes in the way water is dealt with in development. They hope to see WASH institutionalized — an automatic part of every conversation instead of an aside. With more than 800 million people without safe drinking water and 2.5 billion without sanitation facilities, WASH advocates argue this mainstreaming is critical.

World Water Week does include a score of sanitation and health-specific events, although most of them will happen on the sidelines. Seminars on the topic include the role of WASH in enhancing resilience and food securitygoing to scale with poor-inclusive urban sanitation, and monetizing the sanitation chain.

Other notable gatherings include the United Nations-backed Drive to 2015 initiative to end open defecation by prioritizing the most marginalized populations, a panel of 86 global partners that will meet to analyze progress on more than 200 commitments, allocations and targets set in April to achieve sanitation and water for all, and a session on how to catalyze funding for WASH.

Funding for WASH has been lacking, Jennifer Platt tells Devex. According to the sustainability director at WASH Advocates, more funding should go toward mobile applications for WASH, supporting advocates in developing countries, and building local capacity. Stay tuned for more Devex coverage of water and development this week!

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About the author

  • Jennifer Brookland

    Jennifer Brookland is a former Devex global development reporter based in Washington, D.C. She has worked as a humanitarian reporter for the United Nations and as an investigative journalist for News21. Jennifer holds a bachelor's in foreign service from Georgetown University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University and in international law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School. She also served for four years as an Air Force officer.