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“Contribution of Sustainable Sanitation to the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development” – SuSanA’s revised Vision Document now open for discussion!

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“Contribution of Sustainable Sanitation to the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development” – SuSanA’s revised Vision Document now open for discussion!
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TOPIC: “Contribution of Sustainable Sanitation to the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development” – SuSanA’s revised Vision Document now open for discussion!

secretariat - 30 Jan 2017 14:29
“Contribution of Sustainable Sanitation to the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development” – SuSanA’s revised Vision Document now open for discussion!
Dear all,
This year SuSanA is celebrating its 10th year of activity. SuSanA was founded in 2007, motivated by the UN’s decision to declare 2008 as International Year of Sanitation in the run up to the 2015 deadline for the MDGs. Since its foundation SuSanA’s partners and members share a vision of sustainable sanitation and is dedicated to understanding and promoting viable and sustainable sanitation solutions.

The 2015 deadline has passed, and as we all know, the sanitation target was sadly missed by quite a margin. However, post-MDG, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the accompanying Sustainable Development Goals have set a clear path for continuing efforts and aim to achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all by 2030.

This new context for the sanitation sector offers new opportunities but may also require a rethink of how major actors, including SuSanA, can and should function in this context and what role they could play.

We are pleased to let you know that the SuSanA Core Group and the SuSanA Secretariat together with Roland Schertenleib, Elisabeth Kvarnström, Patrick Bracken and Kim Andersson have reviewed the position and mission of SuSanA in the context of the SDGs and revised SuSanA’s document “Towards more sustainable sanitation solutions” from 2008 which is often also referred to as the vision document.

The revised document with the new title “Contribution of Sustainable Sanitation to the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development” reflects the new context of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and outlines SuSanA’s contribution to the Agenda 2030.

A draft version of this document was presented at SuSanA’s 10th Anniversary celebrations on 17th January 2017 and is now open for public discussion with SuSanA members and any other interested parties.

We are happy to receive your comments, feedback and ideas.

You have three different options to join this discussion:
  • Post your comments directly in this discussion thread on the SuSanA Forum
  • Follow this link and comment directly on the vision paper on google doc.
  • Send us your feedback via Email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The draft vision document 2030 is also available in the SuSanA library:

A first comment, which we received during the anniversary celebration meeting, highlighted already that SuSanA’s role with regard to the SDG#17 (“Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development”) is missing in the document.

We would appreciate your feedback before 31 March 2017. Afterwards we will update the document and share an updated version with the SuSanA community.

We envisage launching the final version of SuSanA’s vision document: “Contribution of Sustainable Sanitation to the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development” at the 24th SuSanA Meeting connected to this year’s Stockholm World Water Week.

Thanks in advance and best regards,

Annkathrin Tempel (on behalf of the SuSanA Secretariat)
Sowmya - 17 Feb 2017 03:44
Re: “Contribution of Sustainable Sanitation to the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development” – SuSanA’s revised Vision Document now open for discussion!
Hi Everyone,

My apologies for the very intermittent participation... Some quick thoughts on some other objectives that the vision document could include :

(1) Increase interdisciplinary co-operation: how SuSanA can help sanitation specialists (policy makers - govt departments, business ventures & NGOs, professionals, media, et al) to increase co-operation and interaction with specialists from other related SDGs - essentially, integrated approach to SDG implementation (we already have a SuSanA post on that). For instance, inviting Rose George to participate in SuSanA's discussion helped everyone learn several important points about women's rights as well as documents available for integrating women's rights in implementing sanitation projects - quick reference instead of having to do the research. Her latest TEDtalk on sanitation.

(2) Increase co-operation with other forums: HIFA/CHIFA which we have already done, Wiki (I remember WikiDoc James), and there are other forums - stackoverflow, quora, etc. Moderated & unmoderated forums can work differently but exploring both would be great. We also increased participation in LinkedIn and Facebook. We could have a formal schedule in place to be present across forums (where more structured co-operation is not possible) and a series of discussion series where structured co-operation is possible (for instance, with HIFA/CHIFA). A discussion series with HIFA/CHIFA on the TippyTap & handwashing solutions for healthcare providers in the most resource-scarce setting would be just awesome, we also need to interact with agri/energy sector. EVIDEM Collaboration (an open international forum for mainstreaming multi-criteria decision making in health sector resources allocation as the better alternative to cost-effective analysis - it is for health sector but sanitation has huge interlinkages with health and what we can compare notes on the development of evaluation criteria as well as approaches to engaging different stakeholders - compare the sanitation technology assessment criteria with MCDM in health sector) is another forum that I would very highly recommend. It would be even better to run a thematic discussion series across SuSanA, HIFA/CHIFA and EVIDEM Collaboration together. EVIDEM also has a rather strong policy/academia/corporate presence, HIFA/CHIFA has awesome engagement with professionals (including paramedical, which is really a huge thing) and SuSanA engages with all stakeholders (increases engagement across stakeholder groups continuously, some city in Karnataka, India, was going to engage with the SuSanA Forum last year if I remember correctly, three cheers for SuSanA, the members and Karnataka, India! ). Learning, sharing experiences, approaches that work, increasing presence & stakeholder interaction, etc.

(3) Chart how the potential of the forum can be used to aid each of the stakeholders achieve their professional objectives: For instance,

(a) showcasing projects (for ventures & NGOs - feature already exists in the website, could add some additional features to showcase the star value viz., aid effectiveness, best practices, transparency & governance, participative approach, multi-disciplinary approach, awards received) & can SuSanA also award outstanding projects or give a star based on some criteria - may not be feasible to do an in-depth analysis but something similar to 'Featured Forum User' - SOIL Haiti could be one of the first recipients ,

(b) the library can include some additional features to add credentials to authors/institutions (a star rating that authors can add to their resumes - much like impact factors as well as adding their profile viz., a networking website for academics with 47.9 million members, please read wiki page - increase the opportunity for multi-disciplinary & inter-professional research, and we do need data visualization experts and other cutting-edge technologies as well) - we really do not have much of a picture of sanitation & WASH research & I am not sure about bibliometrics research conducted in WASH scientific/academia-led implementation research,

(c) showcase best practices in project conceptualization & implementation - focusing on transparency & governance - for policy makers, CSR, etc. A powerful image of best practices on these aspects can increase the overall country profile in the international scene (important for expanding business abroad, interest from international financial institutions, etc). And SuSanA can actually play a critical role in increasing transparency & governance as well. Transparency International (headquartered in Germany) can be a great institution to work with. We could have a TDS co-led with Transparency International and help professionals & institutions for all types (govt depts, business ventures, NGOs) be aware of critical issues, guideline documents, etc.

(d) increase co-operation with institutions of a specific type (for instance, Overseas Development Institute, has huge expertise in international aid effectiveness - comes in useful for India's CSR being co-ordinated at the national level now) - compare the focus themes in health research (implementation research, economics, etc) with WASH research. IFOAM is also a great institution to interact with, there has already been some interest shown (I remember some posts by Chris Canaday). Some institutions (particularly international aid) have experience across sectors - we could engage with them to understand how they view sanitation implementation compared to other sectors (IDRC, The Gates Foundation, UN/UNICEF, et al). NGOs, grant applications & process, how small NGOs can improve their KPI which can help increase their potential to receive grants, effectiveness, etc. How to increase media engagement (press, radio/tv, online, etc).

(e) Increase presence in other sectors - as mentioned in one of my posts in a TDS, an important international conference on sustainable agriculture had representation by the world's largest fertilizer companies but no participation/agenda to discuss how soil amendments from sustainable sanitation can contribute. We could have a website section on how sustainable sanitation professionals/institutions are engaging with other sectors & increasing the overall presence and profile of sustainable sanitation - for instance, participating in conferences of other SDG sectors to showcase interlinkages/contribution of sustainable sanitation.

(f) Sanitation in Disaster Resilience - contributing to the Hyogo Framework for Action HFA): Specifically integrating with HFA. Sanitation during Ebola is one of the best examples of how a forum of experts can quickly contribute to a disaster response program. Both the 'sanitation during ebola' documents as well as the interaction & cross-posting with HIFA/CHIFA. Disaster resilience is still one of the least focus areas in several countries & SuSanA can play a powerful role. I remember some posts by Mughal about sanitation in highly flood-affected countries (for instance, Bangladesh) as well as small island nations. We could work with HIFA/CHIFA to put together a disaster response as well as disaster resilience toolkit and help that get integrated into the Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) of NGOs - this happened in case of Ebola, thanks Elizabeth von Muench! Also our learning and closing the know-do gap as well as how this expert contribution increased awareness and subsequent inclusion of sanitation in Ebola management and response document by the WHO. We will need the same for cholera & all sanitation-related diseases during natural disasters.

(g) Learning Forums: I remember the Coursera posts. Maybe a joint discussion across SuSanA, HIFA/CHIFA & EVIDEM about self-learning courses (University of Loughborough is one of the first to start an online self-learning course in sanitation, isn't it?). Can we engage with educational institutions such as John Hopkins, Stanford University, Harvard who create several of these courses on how they can create a course for multi-disciplinary co-operation projects or topics etc. Their criteria for deciding on topics, etc. These courses often include group projects for the students - so we will have structured modules for interaction on specific topics where SDG linkages have to be strengthened. We could contribute to and learn from the health sector as well.

How the interlinkages with other SDGs translate into specific objectives that capitalize on SuSanA's strengths (membership, website, Forum). As well as increasing focus on implementation research & academia participation.

Thanks and warm regards,
muench - 22 Feb 2017 14:18
Re: “Contribution of Sustainable Sanitation to the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development” – SuSanA’s revised Vision Document now open for discussion!
Dear Sowmya,

Thanks for your post with all these really interesting ideas.
I am just a little bit at a loss how you would want to see those integrated into the 4-page document that we are meant to comment on here ("Contribution of Sustainable Sanitation to the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development”)?

I think the call for comments was more for things that are relatively easy to change and add or edit, not for a complete re-write.

Would your comments perhaps be more suitable for either a new document or for a new discussion thread here on the forum or for a thematic discussion of sorts? Could you perhaps break it down into baby steps for me (small doable actions) as I am a bit overwhelmed with it at this stage.


P.S. I am also planning to comment on the Contributions document in the next few days and was hoping to read other people's comments as well.
However it might be helpful if the secretariat could clarify what type of comments are requested. You said:
We are happy to receive your comments, feedback and ideas.

Arno commented in an e-mail to me:
For starters one might ask what is the point of asking more people to comment on the document after it has gone through multi-drafts already. WG heads have already made comments presumably since it went through the Core Group. That people don’t find it necessary to comment on may be an indicator that it is a rather good piece of work.

So it might be useful to have greater clarity on this. Thanks.
Sowmya - 23 Feb 2017 00:11
Re: “Contribution of Sustainable Sanitation to the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development” – SuSanA’s revised Vision Document now open for discussion!
Dear Elisabeth,

Thanks. I agree that the comments were too long... Your point is valid, we will need a structure for the discussion. As a suggestion, please find attached a PPT with some slides providing the structure for summarizing/finalizing the vision statement. Most of the inputs should be going into filling up some box(es) in the slides.

Essentially, we start with a mantra, sketch the most important needs/imperatives based on the sanitation SDG & extant sector status, SuSanA agenda - then & now/being discussed, formal structures already in place for implementation, opportunities for increasing efficiency and/or effectiveness of implementation - what was explored but not formalized and/or notes to be considered --> broad outline of the vision & objectives. Iterate between vision & objectives until a 1-sentence vision statement and a list of objectives are formulated.

The info in the other slides are for supporting the vision-objectives iteration and having a better understanding of the context (eg., considerations/constraints, opportunities, risks if any, key people/groups with engage with, next steps).

Reg mantra: for instance, "early detection, early response" was the mantra for stopping smallpox, Larry Page's Ted Talk. I couldn't think of any immediately for SuSanA's 2030 Agenda. Hence, thought of "The World's Largest Open Forum for Sanitation: Increasing Influence & Impact" as the pivot for thinking of the vision statement.

The content in the SuSanA Vision Document as well as comments in this thread can be fed into these slides... thought we can do this once we know the discussion framework & context (hence the PPT).

Warm regards,
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scherten - 01 Mar 2017 11:34
Re: “Contribution of Sustainable Sanitation to the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development” – SuSanA’s revised Vision Document now open for discussion!
Dear Sowmya,

Many thanks for your thoughts and interesting ideas. I think you go already a step further and make interesting and useful suggestions for the implementation of the new vision. In fact, many of your points are included in the vision document but in a more general way. The discussion how to implement the new vision will be an important the next step and your suggestions will certainly be a useful input for this discussion. I also expect that many of your points will be addressed in the upcoming market study within the Gates project.

As mentioned in the post by the Secretariat, the draft of new 4-page vision document "Contribution of Sustainable Sanitation to the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development" was prepared by a small team (including myself) in collaboration with the SuSanA Secretariat and will replace SuSanA's old vision document "Towards more sustainable sanitation solutions" from 2008. The new document has already been reviewed by the Core Group.

We are now mainly interested to know if also the other partners and members of SuSanA basically agree with the new vision outlined in the concise 4-page document or if there are any important objections. Any specific comments/suggestions which can easily be integrated into the existing text are of course also very welcome.

Based on the comments the document will be finalized so that it can be hopefully officially launched during the World Water Week 2017 in Stockholm.

With many thanks and best regards
Roland Schertenleib
Sowmya - 01 Mar 2017 15:53
Re: “Contribution of Sustainable Sanitation to the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development” – SuSanA’s revised Vision Document now open for discussion!
Dear Roland,

Thanks for your comments. I agree that several of the points in the PPT have already been covered in the draft document - indeed, that was the point (to have a holistic map of what has already been covered in the draft document and some suggestions along with process map to understand implementation pathways). Agreed about slides relating to next steps as well (need not be part of the draft document).

To be precise, please find below 5 questions:
  1. The draft document recognizes the sanitation interlinkages across the SDGs (page 2). This essentially translates into adopting multi-sector approaches to achieving WASH goals. How are multi-sector approaches reflected in the list of "specific objectives" mentioned in page 4 of the draft document?
  2. Should we have a specific objective (in the page 4 list) focusing on multi-sector approaches in sanitation project implementation?
  3. The specific objectives listed in page 4 can be classified into (a) technical documentation & information compiling regarding sanitation, and (b) supporting/interacting with sanitation sector players (policy makers, funding agencies, et al). The list relates to "within-sanitation" domain. If we take multi-sector approaches as a specific objective, how is it reflected in terms of (a) technical documentation & information compiling, and (b) supporting/interacting with other sector players? An excellent example of the technical documentation for multi-sector approaches is TMIH's conceptual framework that shows the clinical/technical interlinkages between health & WASH (SDG targets do not provide such detailed documentation). We need such well-researched "technical conceptual frameworks" for each of the inter-related SDGs as a first step.
  4. Given that there are as yet no established institutions/mechanisms for exploring multi-sector approaches for each of the interlinkages between SDGs, how can SuSanA play a leading/significant role in exploring multi-sector approaches with respect to documentation & implementation to the extent it relates to sanitation? (This is where SuSanA's library, project profiles section and TDS/coordinated sessions with other forums come in, I guess?)
  5. How are synergies & opportunities (made possible through multi-sector approaches - beyond the dependencies) addressed in the list of specific objectives in page 4?

And, it would be great to have a 1-2 sentence Vision Statement as well.

Notes Regarding Multi-Sector Approaches to WASH:
Multi-sector approaches have been recommended by several international institutions, including the UNICEF, World Bank and USAID.

Multi-sector approaches call for achieving goals of one sector through (by incorporating them within) the efforts of another sector.

For instance, the USAID document referred above specifically calls for incorporating WASH practices (hand washing etc) in health/nutrition related activities - this means that WASH will need to get handwashing goals achieved through health sector efforts. Earlier, Rose George had posted a document on how gender goals can be incorporated in sanitation projects - in this instance, gender goals have to be achieved through WASH projects.

We need technical & ICT/capacity development documents for each of the SDGs interlinked with sanitation. The first objective listed in page 4 relate to collecting and compiling information but they relate to sanitation goals within the sanitation domain. For instance, in SuSanA, we have posted sustainable & low-cost technologies related to handwashing (including TippyTap and the Gates Foundation supported development of alternatives to soap) - how can we get these solutions be made aware of & included within the efforts of health sector? The same applies to each of the other inter-linked SDGs.

Thanks and regards,
muench - 25 Mar 2017 17:33
Re: “Contribution of Sustainable Sanitation to the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development” – SuSanA’s revised Vision Document now open for discussion!
The call for feedback has been posted here on the forum for a while and the feedback period is closing soon: 31 March.

With this post, I would like to encourage all SuSanA members to take a look at the document that w're supposed to comment on, as it's an important new document for SuSanA, of similar importance to the "vision document" from ten years ago.

The new document is called "Contribution of Sustainable Sanitation to the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development" and talks about SuSanA's possible contributions to achieving the SDGs.

I have a number of small comments which I am listing here below:
  1. Who is the target audience for this document? Is it "everyone"? Could we narrow it down a bit and then adjust the language accordingly, e.g. by making it easier to understand if our target audience are people from outside the inner circle of experts?
  2. The language so far seems very academic and wordy, hard to understand, especially for non-native English speakers.
  3. Why keep calling it our “vision document” whilst this term doesn't apper in the title or subtitle. To avoid further confusion I suggest we stop calling it vision document. And instead of Agenda 2030 I would prefer to have the word "Sustainable Development Goals" in the title. I think SDGs is now better understood than Agenda 2030.
  4. Font is very small.
  5. Are the photos in the header and footer line really all that suitable? I must say I am very bored with seeing the same photos there since so many years. I also don’t think that we should have a photo of a UDDT on the front page. This would continue to support this notion that SuSanA = ecosan = UDDT - which is not the image we want to have.
  6. Add page numbers
  7. Page 2, point 3: long complicated sentence
  8. Figure 1 font too small
  9. Figure 2: colours not easy to read. Also, I find some of the claims are exaggerated like the one for SDG 5 on gender equity. I don’t think having toilets will suddenly help so much to reduce gender gaps (even though I agree that toilets are more important for the wellbeing of women than men); Same issue for SDG9 on innovation and infrastructure; I don’t think sanitation would have a huge impact on that
  10. To save space, I think Figure 2 could be dropped. The SDGs are all interlinked so any other sector will say the same thing about their topic, e.g. you could also put energy in the centre, or education (like we put sanitation in the centre here)
  11. Page 3: that definition by Webster for sanitation doesn’t convince me. “The act or process of making sanitary and the promotion of hygiene and prevention of disease by maintenance of sanitary conditions.” So what is the definition of “sanitary” then? Can’t we rather use the definition of sanitation that we use in the Wikipedia article (if indeed we need a definition here; we probably don't).
    • Could use this WHO definition which is mentioned in the Wikipedia article: "Sanitation generally refers to the provision of facilities and services for the safe disposal of human urine and feces. The word 'sanitation' also refers to the maintenance of hygienic conditions, through services such as garbage collection and wastewater disposal."
    • Or this definition from Wikipedia, first sentence: "Sanitation is the hygienic means of promoting health through prevention of human contact with the hazards of wastes as well as the treatment and proper disposal of sewage or wastewater." - not saying that Wikipedia is the be all and end all, but if we don't like the definition there, we can also change it.
  12. The reference list wastes a lot of space by listing 5 links to UN and UN-Water documents. Rather link to the most important one or just their website.
  13. The SuSanA website on Page 4 should stand out more and not just be listed under references.
  14. I think there needs to be a proper authors box and date, so that people know in future out to cite this. How about even adding “To be cited as: xxx” That would be useful.
  15. Also I assume this will be open access. If yes, it should say so: CC-BY CA (same way as it was done for the vision document). There we made it (but could be shorter here): Copyright Information: All SuSanA materials are available under the open access licence CC-BY SA. Proper acknowledgement of the source should always be given when materials are used.

I invite everyone to post their own comments or to react to any of my comments to enter into a discussion (and thanks to Sowmya who had posted her thoughts above which were well noted; it was great food for thought but not easy to translate it into actual changes to this particular document without completely re-writing it or starting a new document).

arno - 28 Mar 2017 15:28
Re: “Contribution of Sustainable Sanitation to the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development” – SuSanA’s revised Vision Document now open for discussion!
Just to add a broader perspective to this exercise:

The real question people may be asking is “Will SuSanA produce an action plan?” as part of this document? Could be the paper should be formally tabled with SWA and through the SuSanA Forum we crowd-source advice leading to an SDG 6 action plan for the sector.

And there are others that are potential collaborators, staking their claims:


UNSC (the stats people)

HLWP (High Level Water Panel) and their Action Plan

CN Hilton Foundation


SDNS (Sust Devel Solutions Network) mainly republishing UN data (eg JMP)

So this may be the next step in further developing SuSanA’s approach here. It's really more of a communications strategy than a vision document that is needed if we want to see impact. We haven’t really started to pull that sort of strategy together. A first step would be to seek out the people behind the above activities (mainly KM and communication people), draft a basis for collaboration and then fire the whole thing up on the Forum in order to create sector-wide consensus and a policy and implementation action plan with critical linkages to regional initiatives. Without this broader approach we will risk seeing a repeat of the old and last minute forgotten MDG from 2000 and an even larger percentage failure by 2030. So this is a call for an action plan from SuSanA to catalyse and help coordinate the above efforts.
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