Water and health: connecting risk management and technical solutions

Protocol on water and health: a workshop on sanitation in the pan-European region held in Bonn, Germany, on 12.-13 February 2019.

The workshop was held under the auspices of the WHO/ UNECE Protocol on Water and Health. Its goal was to identify challenges and opportunities towards improving the sanitary situation in the pan-European region.

Our Bistra Mihaylova supported the World Café session on the second workshop day. She showed several case studies on sanitation projects in the EECCA region, where WECF supported the improvement of rural sanitation, presenting key learnings and messages in an informal group setup. The focus was on the connection of risk management and technical solutions.

Together with Arnt Diener from WHO, she then moderated two rounds of discussion in the group, pulling off key points, challenges and issues related to rural sanitation.

Rural and semi-urban communities in the EECCA region frequently are not connected to centralized sewage systems. Local authorities often lack staff with capacities to monitor the water and sanitation situation. Households may depend on unsafe on-site systems or small, semi-centralized systems that are often poorly maintained. Water wells are often polluted.

Good practices in terms of low-cost solutions, which can help reducing inequalities in access to safe sanitation, had been part of the World café thematic approach:

  • Urine diverting dry toilets are an ecological sanitation solution.
  • Greywater treatment in sand and gravel filters are low-tech solutions for sustainable wastewater management.
  • Constructed wetlands are engineered systems, designed and constructed to utilise the natural functions of wetland vegetation