Water and Sanitation Service Sustainability: WASH and climate change country assessment

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UNICEF country programs, which were designed and implemented based on national priorities, may find with time that the effectiveness of their programs decrease as the WASH (water-sanitation-hygiene) sector is adversely affected by climate change. These country programs will need to adapt to this threat to ensure the needs of vulnerable communities continues to be prioritized. Better data are needed to harmonize interventions and to lessen the risk to countries and communities (UNICEF, 2009).

The objectives of the project component are to identify and respond directly to the vulnerabilities and risks posed by climate change. Evidence gathered, including likely climate change impacts, will ultimately form the basis for an internal analysis of country specific vulnerability and risk for WASH programming effectiveness and sustainability.

Assessment of 20 countries was undertaken under Phase 1 of the project. These countries were evaluated for the vulnerability of their WASH sector to hazardous events related to climate change and resilience to these events. The assessment included elements of: current climate; current climate variability; trends in population growth and water resources per capita; credible climate scenarios based on climate change forecasts; current state of enabling environment, behavioral change, and partnerships in each country; water and sanitation technology coverage and trends predicted for near future, current and future resilience of WASH to climate-related hazardous events.