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Clean water for all – with modern facilities and sound knowledge

GIZ is working around the globe to ensure that people have widespread and sustainable access to clean water. To achieve this, it provides them with technical support and helps them develop specialist knowledge.

Clean water and sanitation for all by 2030 – with a view to protecting health and the environment, the United Nations declared this target as one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) back in 2015. However, there is still a long way to go. This is also the conclusion reached by an international water dialogue that the German Federal Government initiated in the first half of 2021. 

To conclude this dialogue, the German Federal Environment Ministry (BMU) has presented five key messages with recommendations for action at all political levels in order to achieve the water-related goals in time for 2030. These messages describe not only additional financial resources and improved data, but also the development of knowledge and skills, as well as readiness for innovation and good governance, as being crucial to success.

Better technology supplements local expertise

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is already working with the ‘Sanitation for Millions’ programme to achieve this. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the programme, supported by several international partners, contributes to improved sanitation and hygiene worldwide, placing a particular emphasis on disadvantaged groups such as children, women and refugees. In addition to new sanitary facilities and wastewater treatment plants, Sanitation for Millions imparts expertise to ensure that plants can be used in the long term. And it is clearly successful, as the programme has improved sanitation for more than 650,000 people since 2017, while more than 1,800 specialists have completed training courses on operating the plants and in other sanitary areas.

Alongside measures in Africa and Asia, Sanitation for Millions has also been active in eleven countries in Central America and the Caribbean since August 2020. There is a great need in the region, as around 70 per cent of the population has no reliable access to sanitary facilities and more than three quarters of wastewater is left untreated to pollute the environment – with serious consequences for the health of people and ecosystems. Here, too, GIZ is committed to building up a regional knowledge network so that expertise is mainstreamed. In order to reduce and recycle wastewater, local technical solutions are being developed, which can be expanded if they prove successful. For example, a sanitary system is under construction in Omoa, Honduras. This brings improvements in several respects, as Carlos Thompson from the Honduran Ministry of the Environment confirms: ‘The system protects the environment and at the same time improves people’s quality of life. This is also making the region more attractive for tourism.’ 

In this way, GIZ is helping ensure that the recommendations for action from the water dialogue are already applied practically and that the water-related development goals can be implemented more quickly.

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