Rapid urbanization in low- and middle-income countries has put pressure on water and sanitation providers, resulting in uneven progress on access to services, especially among the poorest and most vulnerable people. This study, produced by Urban Resilience by Building Partnerships and Applying New Evidence in WASH (URBAN WASH), reviewed the policies, regulations, and institutional arrangements that have driven progress across 11 cities with outstanding improvements in inclusive service provision. It identified three pathways to progress defined by the type of actor that spearheaded improvement - utilities, regulators, or municipalities demonstrating that entry points for service strengthening should be adapted to the context.
This study revealed a total of 12 cross-cutting characteristics that enabled inclusive citywide service provision, such as clear indicators and incentives, integrating small-scale providers, customer engagement, and specific pro-poor approaches. The findings of this study provide a foundation on which urban decision makers can encourage locally appropriate types of progress.