While it was commendable that the target for access to safe drinking water in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) was met, the benefits associated with this may have been compromised by the failure to meet the sanitation goal to “halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to basic sanitation”. Over one billion people still lacks access to adequate sanitation and alternatives to open defecation. This situation highlighted the need for a more comprehensive and contextualized approach that moves beyond providing toilets. In this article, four key aspects that have been developed and used successfully (albeit mostly separately) to address WASH challenges were highlighted. It is argued for their joint recognition and implementation. Specifically, the roles of planning, economic opportunities, specialized technology, and behavior change in order to achieve greater success in post-MDG efforts were examined. It is discussed that there are many methods, technologies, and concepts that have been used to address WASH deficits with partial success. An integrated approach that recognizes the legal, financial, social and technical opportunities as well as the challenges that persist could be instrumental in making further progress toward universal access to water and sanitation as proposed by the UN High Level Panel. (Link)
Tilley, E.; Strande, L.; Luthi, C.; Mosler, H.; Udert, K. M.; Gebauer, H.; Hering, J. 2014. Looking Beyond Technology: An Integrated Approach to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Low Income Countries. Environmental Science Technology 48:9965-9970.