Sanitation Technology Experts gather in Leeds to Address Water-related Diseases


Afternoon workshop with the GWPP end-user community
Afternoon workshop with the GWPP end-user community
©Michigan State University/Kyana Young

UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme (IHP) and Michigan State University (MSU) brought together more than twenty sanitation technology experts on 21 March 2016 at the School of Civil Engineering of the University of Leeds, United Kingdom, to address the risk factors constituted by water pathogens.

Two events took place as part of the Global Water Pathogen Project (GWPP): a meeting of experts and a user requirement workshop. GWPP prepares a substantially updated successor to the current benchmark reference book on water-related disease risks and intervention measures, “Sanitation and Disease Health Aspects of Excreta and Wastewater Management” by Richard G. Feachem, David J. Bradley, Hemda Garelick and D. Duncan Mara (1983), and develops an innovative online platform serving as a knowledge resource for sustainable access to safe water and sanitation. Implemented by UNESCO in partnership with MSU, GWPP consists of a network of 113 authors and editors from 41 countries, close to half of them women.

The meeting on 21 March 2016 gathered the authoring team on Sanitation Technologies to help completing the chapter on this subject. It also collected preliminary feedback from the GWPP user community (i.e. identified water specialists outside the GWPP authorship) who shall benefit from the resource. The workshop enabled UNESCO-IHP and MSU to obtain additional data required for GWPP, the help needed for interpreting the data, and to identify the most user-friendly means of presenting information and interacting with the resource.

UNESCO-IHP will organize the next GWPP workshop in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in July 2016, just before the 6th African Water Week. It shall optimize the scope and efficiency of the GWPP knowledge resource according to regional issues, experiences and needs, and identify case studies of interest for the end-user community. GWPP supports African Member States to achieve the water and sanitation targets and goals of the Ngor Declaration on Sanitation and Hygiene, within the overall framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Agenda 2063 “The Africa We Want”, as well as in follow-up to the Africa Water Vision 2015.

Safe, clean water is a key resource for human health, prosperity and security and was declared, together with sanitation, a human right by the UN General Assembly in July 2010. The combination of inadequate sanitation, poor hygiene, and unsafe drinking water kills approximately 2 million people every year due to diarrheal diseases, while 1.8 billion people globally are drinking water contaminated with faeces. GWPP tackles this challenge led by Blanca Jimenez-Cisneros, Secretary of the International Hydrological Programme of UNESCO and by Joan Rose, Hower Nowlin Endowed Chair of Water Research at the Michigan State University, laureate of the Stockholm Water Prize 2016.

Related links:

Alexandros Makarigakis
Programme Specialist
Division of Water Sciences