A colourful handbook on water and sanitation

Last month, I briefly reflected on the work of Catarina De Albuquerque as the first United Nations (UN) special rapporteur on the rights to safe drinking water and sanitation. This month’s column will now focus on the handbook that she launched in 2014 to assist states and countries to perform and comply with the UN decision.

Read more: A colourful handbook on water and sanitation

Who is Catarina de Albuquerque?

Most of you might not have heard of this lady with the strange surname as she does not feature in the popular media. This is a pity as this formidable woman played an important role over the last six years in the water and sanitation sector as the United Nations (UN) special rapporteur on the rights to water and Sanitation. But who is Catarina de Albuquerque and what is the job of a special rapporteur?

Read more: Who is Catarina de Albuquerque?

Global monitoring of water and sanitation services - South Africa’s performance will be closely monitored

In my previous column, I briefly described how the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will come to an end in 2015 and the United Nations (UN) will later this year approve a new set of global indicators for the post-2015 sustainable development agenda. This new set of indicators for the next 15 years (2016 to 2030) will be known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). What does this mean for us here in South Africa?

Read more: Global monitoring of water and sanitation services - South Africa’s performance will be closely...

2015 signals the end of the MDGs, and welcomes the SDGs

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as approved by the UN at the dawn of the new millennium include 21 global goals and 60 corresponding indicators. Goal number 7 is to “ensure environmental sustainability” and has as a target (number 7.C) to “halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation” The indicators by which these are measured globally is to track progress on the “proportion of population using an improved drinking water source” and monitoring also the proportion of national and global populations “using an improved sanitation facility”. 

One of the main outcomes of the Rio+20 Conference (United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development) was the agreement by member states to launch a process to develop a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will build upon the MDGs and converge with the post-2015 development agenda.

Read more: 2015 signals the end of the MDGs, and welcomes the SDGs

Coping with the water services challenges: sympathy for Metro

By:  Helgard Muller

These days you cannot open a newspaper or listen to a radio station without being confronted with the failing of, and corruption in one of our municipalities. As enough is being written about their wrong doings or lack of actions, this month I dare to ask that we appreciate the enormous challenges that cities like Tshwane, Johannesburg, eThekwini and Cape Town face. They are indeed cities under tremendous pressure to perform their water services – let us look at the facts.


Urbanisation is here to stay and in reality it can only accelerate: According to the UN Human Settlements Programme the urban population of Africa is to triple from the current 395 million people to 1,23 billion people in 2050 when 60% of all Africans will live in urban areas. Three South African cities, Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban/eThekwini were listed under the top 11 fastest growing cities in Africa.

Read more: Coping with the water services challenges: sympathy for Metro

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and reinventing the toilet

In 2011 the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) announced its Reinvent The Toilet Challenge (RTTC). 

RTTC Programme to promote research into a new generation of sanitation solutions that are innovative, off the grid (not connected to a sewage reticulation system), affordable for poor users, and sustainable.

Read more: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and reinventing the toilet

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