Humanitarian WASH presentations at World Water Week 2019

SIWI has prepared a useful 205 page report that contains a compilation of the oral and written scientific presentations that have been chosen for this year’s seminars and the link is:

Below are highlights and conclusions from 9 presentations that discuss humanitarian WASH-related issues. Just go to the page number to see the complete abstract and additional information about the author. emergencies

Page 65 – Business innovations in sanitation for refugee settlements in East Africa
Authors: Dr. Miriam Otoo, International Water Management Institute, Sri Lanka

The paper shows that different waste-reuse business models have great potential to support the provision of sustainable sanitation service delivery and improve livelihoods of refugee communities, by using generated revenues from recovered resources to bridge financial gaps and complement other supporting mechanisms for waste management, and catalyzing small business creation.

Conclusions and recommendations: Market-driven mechanisms are increasingly being adopted in the sanitation sector to catalyze higher degrees of cost recovery or profit generating to better deliver waste management services, and this applies to refugee settlements and rural host communities. Resource recovery and reuse of waste has an important role to play in the provision of sustainable sanitation service delivery, however limited to no cultural acceptance of production practices and end-use of recovered resources from human waste can hinder business creation in the sector. Capacity development that directly engages both refugee and host communities will be critical to mitigate the effects of these barriers

Page 107 – Water and sanitation, migration and the 2030 Agenda
Authors: Dr. Guy Jobbins, Overseas Development Institute, United Kingdom

This briefing explores the relationships between water, sanitation and migration, and how they may affect the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Specifically, we discuss the fact that while water and sanitation do not appear to drive migration, the process of migration can radically shape access to water and sanitation services – particularly for undocumented migrants and people in transit. We question whether attaining universal access to safely managed water and sanitation services is possible without specific measures to address the needs of refugees and other migrants.

Conclusions and recommendations: 1) Migration isn’t driven by a lack of water and sanitation services, but governments which provide services can support successful migration. 108 2) Achieving universal WASH access will not be possible unless all people have access to water and sanitation services, regardless of their migratory status. 3) Challenges stem from failures in governance, not the amount of water available, numbers of migrants or rates of migration; strengthened water governance can help better cope with the impacts of migration. 4) The poor visibility of migrants in data limits understanding of their needs and reduces the accountability of governments and service providers.

Page 109 – Water, Migration and Conflict: A Subnational Analysis
Authors: Mr. Stefan Döring, Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala , Sweden

Highlights: Our research scrutinizes linkages between migration, water security, and violent conflict. Employing a subnational approach allows for a more fine-grained perspective. With data on precipitation, flooding, groundwater depth, water pollution, and other water-related variables, the work offers a comprehensive analysis of several factors that are crucial when understanding the links.

Conclusions and recommendations: Governments are positioned to alleviate both issues with migration and water shortages by implementing environmental policies that involve disaster risk reduction, resource conservation, or redistribution. Yet, this also underlines the importance of non-governmental actors which can significantly support policy efforts. This research identifies not only broader regions that are of higher security concerns; moreover, the work 110 highlights where actions are required within a country. Problems with water allocation are not ubiquitous and demand actions depending on the context. This research enables us to differentiate between different sources of conflict and migration, thereby unpacking some of these complexities.

Page 111 – International Laws of Water Access: Experiences of Displacement and Statelessness
Authors: Ms. Carly Krakow, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), United States

Highlights: I offer unprecedented analysis of international criminal law’s role for grappling with water access restrictions. – The stateless/displaced/armed conflict zone residents are disproportionately impacted by lack of water, yet uniquely vulnerable under international law. – I propose remedies for international law’s struggle to guarantee the human right to water for refugees/IDPs.

Conclusions and recommendations: Increased dialogue between water and humanitarian law is analyzed (e.g. UN Watercourses Convention, Geneva Conventions). The ICC and ICJ’s roles are evaluated to assess possibilities for making post-conflict reparations to victims of water access denial. The ICC’s 2016 declaration that it would prioritize environmental crimes suggests that the Court is amenable to grappling with water access denial as an international crime—a potentially unprecedented development. I recommend support for the ICC to expand the Trust Fund for Victims to make reparations to water crimes victims, particularly those who are stateless/from states unable or unwilling to make reparations (e.g. Yemen, Syria).

Carly has conducted research in the West Bank, Greece, The Hague, and Geneva, supported by awards including the Gallatin Global Fellowship in Human Rights. For more information about her work please visit:

Page 113 – Addressing the water-migration nexus from a governance perspective
Authors: Fatine Ezbakhe, Mediterranean Youth for Water (MedYWat) network, Morocco

Highlights: – The aim is to contribute to the ongoing debate about water and migration interlinkages. – A ‘drivers for migration’ conceptual framework is used to analyze the triggering factors for Syrian migration. – The analysis highlights the complexity of the water-migration nexus and the need to pay attention to existing water governance frameworks.

Conclusions and recommendations: Although not exhaustive, the analysis of the Syrian migration confirms two key points. First, the complexity of the water-migration nexus requires focusing on all underlying drivers in order to develop effective policies for environmental migration. Second, special attention must be paid to the water governance frameworks in place, as they can constitute both barriers and facilitators to migration. The time is now ripe for more indepth research to better understand the linkages between water governance and migration policy. Furthermore, more dissemination of this research on water and migration is needed to help practitioners and policy-makers address the migration challenge.

Page 115 – Sanctuary: Footing the Bill for the Costs of Migration
Authors: Prof. Luke Wilson, The Center for Water Security and Cooperation, United States

Highlights: This paper/presentation will discuss how the costs of migration are allocated between nations, including who is legally responsible to cover those costs. For many water poor countries, providing basic services to refugees, migrants, and internally displaced persons (IDPs) can be overwhelming. Are they alone in footing the bill?

Conclusions and recommendations: This paper will suggest novel approaches to the idea of internationally wrongful acts that allows receiving states to seek compensation from states that create or foment refugee and migrant crises. These states are exporting economic and political crises, including scarce resources, to receiving states, and the legal regime has evolved to create the possibility of legal redress for this burden. For other states, obligations to assist the receiving state with resources and money is an evolving rule of law, which will be fully addressed in the presentation when the research is completed.

Page 131 – Less to lose?: Drought vulnerability assessment in the disadvantaged regions
Authors: Dr. Caroline King, The Borders Institute (TBI), Africa and Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), United Kingdom

Highlights: Fundamental practical and methodological challenges confound assessments of the costs of drought in disadvantaged dryland communities. To overcome these challenges a proactive global vulnerability assessment approach should apply the available methods inclusively and iteratively. The UNCCD offers international coordination for such an approach to assess reductions in vulnerability to drought.

Conclusions and recommendations: Better informed assessments at all levels should help decision-makers to prevent further exacerbation of multi-dimensional global threats and hazards by droughts occurring in the marginal dry areas of developing countries. There is no shortage of methods for assessment of vulnerability to drought. A coordinated international process is needed to ensure that the available methods for drought vulnerability assessment are applied systematically, coordinated and improved so that adaptation can reduce drought impacts on the most vulnerable.

Page 133 – Ensuring flood insurance is socially inclusive: some challenges and solutions
Authors: Mr. Mohamed Aheeyar, International Water Management Institute, Sri Lanka

Highlights: – Affecting on average over 82 million people annually, floods can undermine numerous Sustainable Development Goals especially in the developing world. – Many affected are rural farmers, with limited ability to withstand crop loss. – This research explores how insurance schemes for flood-based crop loss can be accessible to the most vulnerable groups.

Conclusions and recommendations: Floods affect millions of poor farmer households annually. Flood insurance can build their resilience to losses, but poor finance, social networks, illiteracy, and gendered norms can undermine access to and understand the insurance amongst vulnerable groups. The complex structure of flood insurance requires thoughtful product rollout to build farmer trust and minimize unrealistic expectations. Partners with extensive knowledge of rural social structures, institutional capacity and credibility at village level can help overcome these challenges through a systematic and locally appropriate rollout process. These need to be incorporated from the outset in product design through dialog between the insurer, local partner(s).

Page 204 – Providing Sanitation to Off-grid Areas: a Successful Story from Cambodia
Authors: Mr. Michael White, Asian Development Bank, Philippines

Highlights: Solar septic tank installation in remote, off-grid areas, which are not reached by traditional infrastructure; Innovative technology application in remote communities to address sanitation issues in areas with vulnerable women and children. Use of complete sanitation value chain approach amidst geographical and spatial limitations.

Conclusions and recommendations: This study showed that it is possible to provide complete sanitation services to all areas reaching the ‘last mile’. Difficult site conditions can be hurdled by appropriate technologies and methodologies, combined with proper coordination with local communities and government support. Innovative technologies can be encouraged for mainstreamed use after they have demonstrated their effectiveness. Piloting innovative technologies is an effective way to test the suitability of new systems. In addition, training local operators and the larger community on technology operation and maintenance is paramount.

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