In our 2021 Insights Report, Raising our Ambition to WASH Resilience, WASH4Work set out to convene global WASH stakeholders and corporate members to develop consensus and alignment on the new expectations to integrate climate resilience considerations into WASH programs and investments—and what this means in the context of corporate water stewardship commitments. On the occasion of the COP27 United Nations Climate Change Conference, global businesses and WASH expert organizations came together via the WASH4Work initiative to launch a joint statement of aligned commitments to taking action towards the advancement of SDGs 6 and 13 by 2030, with the goal of enabling millions of people to become more water secure and climate-resilient.
The declaration outlines the case for business action; considerations for further developing and applying a climate resilience framework to WASH programs and investments; and invites more businesses to join us in this COP27 declaration, to mobilize the leadership and partnerships needed to shape a more climate-resilient WASH-secure world.
The business case for investing in WASH access is getting stronger. While the past few years have demonstrated a need for safely managed sanitation, hygiene, and water supply to reduce exposure to harmful diseases such as COVID-19, a remaining risk to WASH access is climate change. Climate change directly affects the quality and quantity of water supplies and impacts the sustainability of WASH behaviors, especially for the most vulnerable.
To ensure the continued success of our communities, businesses, and supply chains – the impact of climate change on access to WASH must be fully understood. Going forward we join global and local stakeholders in developing and applying a climate-resilient WASH framework to our water, sanitation, and hygiene access programs and investments.
The framework for action will include the following considerations:
- Assessment of climate risk: Understanding the local context of climate change, water systems, and water resources: Hazards, exposure, and vulnerability
- Impacts of climate risks on WASH: Understanding the impacts of climate change on water, sanitation and hygiene access, services continuity and reliability
- Preparedness and adaptation: Planning for the timely response to expected climate impacts and potential adaptation of water supply, sanitation, and hygiene services
- Solutions and implementation: Identifying opportunities to improve water, sanitation, and hygiene services with climate-smart low-carbon infrastructure, technologies, and capacity building in communities
- Testing and monitoring: Identifying opportunities to continuously improve the continuity and reliability of services through benchmarking, evaluation, and validation
- Reporting & disclosure: Contributing to advancements in leading practice by sharing learnings, findings, and impacts in collaboration with our stakeholders
- WASH4Work 2022 Insights Report: https://wash4work.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/20/2023/03/WASH4Work_Insights-Report-2022.pdf
- UNICEF and Global Water Partnership (GWP). (2017). WASH Climate Resilient Development. Strategic Framework.
- UNICEF. (2020). UNICEF Guidance note. How UNICEF regional and country offices can shift to climate resilient
WASH programming. https://www.unicef.org/media/109006/file/UNICEF- guidance-note-climate-shift.pdf
Water.org. (2020). Increasing resiliency in the face of climate change. How WSS systems and financing can adapt
to meet the challenge. https://water.org/documents/248/Increasing_Resiliency_in_the_face_of_climate_
- WaterAid. (2021). Programme guidance for climate resilient WASH. https://washmatters.wateraid.org/sites/g/
Outlook for 2023
- Continue to promote corporate support for the business declaration on climate-resilient WASH.
- Develop guidance for businesses on the implementation of climate-resilient WASH framework considerations in WASH programs and investments in collaboration with global and local WASH stakeholders.