Water and Sanitation: How to Make Public Investment Work

The current global pandemic COVID-19 and its impact on the world’s economies is irrefutable proof that solving water and sanitation challenges goes beyond the public health imperative. Now more than ever, finance ministers can look for opportunities to collaborate with their peers in other ministries – and use the examples and techniques suggested in this handbook – to develop financial policies that contribute to lasting solutions.

Finance ministers can operate within the existing political constraints to help boost the level and effectiveness of sector financing, in close cooperation with their counterparts responsible for water, sanitation and hygiene. Finance ministers are critical to the sector because they hold important coordination functions: horizontally with other line ministries (health, rural and/or urban development, education, environment, etc.) and vertically with local government and utilities.

The responsibility to adopt solutions that can deliver universal access to sustainable water and sanitation services lies, in the first instance, in the hands of political leaders.

This handbook provides a framework for thinking about actions that can be taken to address the deep-seated challenges of the sector, once such leadership is mobilized. This handbook highlights many country examples where this coordination and leadership has been critical to turn around sector performance.