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Published on 04/10/2017

GRET in Stockholm for World Water Week

From 27 August to 1st September 2017, World Water Week was held in Stockholm, Sweden. The focus this year was on water and waste, and the issues of reduction and re-use. GRET participated in this major event for the water sector, which provided an opportunity to share its 30 years of experience in implementing and capitalising on sanitation projects.

With over 3,000 participants, this annual event, organised by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), brings together experts, practitioners, deciders, businesses and young professionals from more than 130 countries to discuss the latest advances made in the area of water. During this forum, GRET – together with its partners pS-Eau, Eawag, Sandec, GIZ, SuSanA, World Bank and WaterAid – facilitated two sessions on the subject of “Safe sanitation in small cities”.

During the first session, six case studies were presented in order to highlight the lessons learned from the projects implemented. GRET presented the case of two secondary cities in which it worked: Rosso in Mauritania (Aladin project – “Local sanitation and waste management stakeholders: innovation in Mauritania and Senegal” ), and Foulpointe in Madagascar (Méddea I project [2008-2013] – “Implementation of sustainable development mechanisms for access to drinking water and sanitation in rural areas”, and Méddea II [2013-2016]). During these three projects, work on joint planning made it possible to implement sustainable sanitation services, particularly sludge management services.

When sharing lessons learned, GRET focused on the benefits of a participative approach to defining sustainable services that are suited to the local context, and that are managed according to the available human and financial resources. By bringing municipal authorities, informal manual sludge-pit emptyers and representatives of the population around the table, this approach led to a constructive dialogue and pertinent services. This joint diagnostic and planning approach also strengthens the capacities of local stakeholders. However, it is crucial to remember that political will is a vital first step for the process to produce concrete results.

The second session focused on three sanitation issues in small cities, chosen by the participants:

  • sustainability of funding for sanitation services;
  • strengthening of local stakeholders’ capacities;
  • resources to be implemented to incentivize small cities to improve sanitation in their territory.

The quality of the discussions during these two sessions confirmed the view of GRET and its partners that small cities represent a strategic element for sustainable development goals between now and 2030. Although they receive less media coverage than capital cities and large urban agglomerations, they are faced with multiple, complex challenges, and have an impact on large populations.

A summary of the debates, as well as the presentations on the case studies from the first session co-facilitated by GRET will soon be available on the World Water Week website.

Download the capitalisation document entitled “Développer des services durables de gestion des eaux usées et des déchets dans les petites villes : les acteurs locaux ont un rôle à jouer ! – Madagascar” (lessons learned from the Aladin project in Mauritania and in Senegal)

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