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WECF calls for women’s leadership in WASH

Budapest Water Summit: 8 to 11 October 2013

17.10.2013 |Anke Stock

The core call of WECF to empower women within the WASH sector was supported by Margaret Chan, Director-General of the WHO. She complained in a parallel plenary session that the limited political power of women means some of the most powerful advocates for WASH have no voice.

The Budapest Water Summit held between 8 and 11 October in Budapest/Hungary brought together high-level representatives from governments, international organisations, civil society and academia to discuss the development of water-related goals for the post-2015 development agenda. The Summit provided different fora, such as the summit plenary, the science forum, the civil society forum (of which WECF was part), the youth forum, and a business leaders forum.

WECF presented its recommendations on the SDGs/Post-2015 process in a panel discussion  “Striving for Universal Access to Water and Sanitation” at civil forum of the Summit. The proposed goals and sub-goals were discussed with other stakeholders at and will be fed into the Budapest Statement (see for the draft here: which will be presented in its final version to the next Open Working Group Meeting in November 2013.

WECFs calls for the following goals:
  • (Safe) Drinking water for all 
  • (Safe) Sanitation for all   
  • Zero morbidity and mortality due to lack of hygiene
  • All excreta and waste water are safely stored, transported and adequately treated before being used or being disposed in the environment in a safe and acceptable manner
and the following sub-goals:
  • Focus on rural and slum areas for WASH policies. Indicator: e.g. at least 2/3 of funding for rural and slum areas with window for women
  • WASH in all schools (for all educational institutions). Definition WASH in educational institutions: 100% schools, kindergartens and universities have access to safe water, safe sanitary facilities, hand washing and soap. Including hygiene education in all schools
  • Women’s leadership in the WASH sector. 50% women in (local) WASH management (priority setting, decision-making, planning, implementation, monitoring)
  • All children are helminth free. Helminth prevention, controlling programmes in all affected countries (also EU). Everyone is aware of how to prevent and control helminth infections
  • All women and girls have access to safe sanitary facilities and manage their menstrual hygiene (MHM) in a dignified fashion. All women and girls have access to menstrual sanitary material, including privacy in sanitary facilities (doors), waste-bins for sanitary material, washing facilities. WASH, including MHM, is part of education in schools.
Margaret Chan, Director-General of the WHO complained that the limited political power of women means some of the most powerful advocates for WASH have no voice.

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