IUCN supports partnership on sustainable sanitation and water management

The IUCN Water Programme recently engaged in a partnership on sustainable sanitation and water management, to share knowledge and contribute to a new comprehensive toolbox which links water management, sanitation, and agriculture.

Toilet for community centre Kuringipitiya Photo: Sriyanie Miththapala

For many decades water managers have dealt with protecting, storing, distributing, and cleaning water. Many of these activities link closely with sanitation provision and treatment. Linking the knowledge between these different water management functions and processes is often complex, due to institutional and scientific boundaries. Nutrients in the water which flow between people, the environment, and industrial processes can be precious resources providing valuable ecosystem services. Equally, nutrients and other substances can often pollute and cause damage, and this needs to be recognised and managed to minimise pollution, especially from land into freshwater, and from freshwater systems into the marine environment.

The Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management (SSWM) Toolbox and its partner network bring together information, advice and knowledge on a range of topics designed to save and recycle water, regain resources and protect aquatic ecosystems. The Toolbox allows users to find all the relevant information in one location, and provides a range of information for practitioners from process and planning tools, software and technological approaches, diagnostic and implementation tools as well as training courses.

We see collaboration with key user groups in the Toolbox as an excellent means of sharing the many practical lessons IUCN has from around the world on how to implement IWRM to benefit both people and nature”, said Mark Smith, IUCN Water Programme Director.

The website links all the different tools with publications, articles and weblinks, case studies, training material and presentations. Targeted at local level water practitioners, the Toolbox is also a valuable asset for international and research organisations, NGO’s, local leaders and municipalities, business and environmental agencies.

We value the experience of the IUCN Water Programme on toolkit development and the hybrid subjects they deal with such as environmental flows, payments for ecosystem services and water governance. Integrating this thinking into the existing Toolbox will help further strengthen the information we have, and help in the urgently needed upgrade in how we manage our water and our reliance on it for drinking, sanitation, and food production” said Johannes Heeb, CEO of Seecon International.

Katharina Conradin, SSWM project leader, added that “other partners such as UNDP, ICLEI, WSSCC, and IWA have joined and contributed to our work. We are very pleased to now also include IUCN’s expertise, particularly on the topic of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM), into our toolbox and incorporate the concept more comprehensively in the sanitation and water management approach.”

In order to further position the SSWM Toolbox as a reference for capacity development in the water and sanitation sector, feedback on the SSWM Toolbox is welcomed to discuss its strengths and weaknesses, as well as the way forward for further ensuring its applicability by professionals and stakeholders from within and outside the sector.

Seecon international gmbh is the implementing organisation in the development of the toolbox, funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the German Agency for International Cooperation and Capacity Building for Integrated Water Resources Management.

Please visit the online Toolbox: www.sswm.info

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