Policy Lab Webinar: Urban Poor Communities and COVID-19 – Financing WASH for Urban Poor Communities

Online via Zoom
Policy Lab

On behalf of WaterAid, UNICEF, and the Lumanti Support Group for Shelter, the Scaling City Institutions for India (SCI-FI) initiative at the Centre for Policy Research is pleased to invite you to the forth Policy Lab on: 'Urban Poor Communities and COVID-19 – Financing WASH for Urban Poor Communities'

The session will be online via Zoom. To register, kindly fill this form.

The session will also be live-streamed on CPR's Facebook page.

In case of any issues and for any queries, please email at sci-fi@cprindia.org.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for paying urgent attention to the most vulnerable communities living in highly dense areas with meagre WASH facilities. The march towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will not bring to bear on the desired outcomes without addressing the acute requirements of these rapidly growing communities. The cost of meeting SDG 6.1 and 6.2 in South Asia amount to an annual investment of USD 18.5 billion over the period 2016-2030. For meeting basic WASH services by 2030, the annual requirement is at USD 5.0 billion, or roughly three times the average yearly investment in South Asia during the MDG period of 2000–2015. These are daunting figures, which do not yet give the whole picture as they do not include the significant operating and maintenance costs of the infrastructure.

The provision of a minimum WASH package allowing for incremental improvements in the WASH scenario is a critical requirement to combat the increasing challenges of reducing the risk of exposure to diseases, including the likes of COVID-19, and to improve the overall living conditions of the communities. The total infrastructure investments required even for a minimum WASH package can't be covered easily and will require leveraging of existing funds from relevant authorities to be prioritised through a comprehensive investment approach. External funding will need to be prioritised for community-based interventions (user-level) over investments in infrastructure, as they create the foundation for sustaining improvements made in WASH through enhanced community ownership of the delivered solutions.

WASH interventions focusing on the user, service, and system levels in parallel are likely to have the most desired impact, but require investment in all areas, not just in urban infrastructure. National, state, and local governments are required to identify investment cases and manage services and resources proactively, but the support and ownership of local communities in these investments will ultimately ensure their long-term sustainability.

The present Policy Lab, 'Financing WASH for Urban Poor Communities' will discuss the investments made by the urban local governments in meeting the challenges of COVID-19 among urban poor communities in South Asia. The Policy Lab will also reflect on the modalities available for leveraging investments to address the WASH challenges faced by the urban poor communities to mitigate potential health impacts as have been widely exposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Thematic areaTimeSpeaker /Moderator /Chair

Introduction and opening remarks3.00-3.05 pmMs Therese Dooley Regional Advisor, UNICEF, ROSA 

Session 1 3.05-4.00 pmChaired and moderated by Ms Therese Dooley

Leveraging Financing for WASH in South Asia – An Analysis3.05-3.15 pmMr. Rolf Luyendijk. Former Executive Director, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council. (WSSCC)

COVID-19 Economic impact in Asia and ADB WASH response 3.15-3.25 pm Ms Coral P. Fernandez-Illescas
Principal Water Resources Specialist
Asian Development Bank, Manila

USAID - financial capacities required for COVID-19 preparedness / response3.25-3.35 pmMs. Ella Lazarte
Sr. Water and Sanitation Advisor, USAID.

Moderated Q/A - Panel discussion3.35-4.00 pmSpeakers from session

Session 24.00-4.55 pmChaired and moderated by Ms Therese Dooley

Financing WASH - Lessons learned from Local Governments in India4.00-4.10 pmMs. Utkarsha Kavadi; Sr Executive Director, AIILSG 

Agra city: Mobilising resources to invest in WASH for low income communities4.10-4.20 pmMr. Anand Menon; Consultant, Agra Municipal Corporation

Making the case for targeted investment in High Risk Union Councils (Urban) 4.20-4.30 pm Ms. Asiya Ashraf Chaudhry,
WASH Specialist UNICEF, Pakistan 

Moderated Q/A4.30-4.55 pmSpeakers from session

Closing Remarks 4.55-5.00 pmUNICEF

About the Policy Labs
The present Policy Lab is the fourth in a series of four titled, Urban Poor Communities & COVID-19 - New Urban WASH Priorities for South Asian Governments, jointly organised by WaterAid, UNICEF, Lumanti Support Group for Shelter, and the Scaling City Institution for India (SCI-FI) initiative at CPR. The series will bring together a diverse group of stakeholders including national and local governments, practitioners, researchers, and the civil society to deliberate on strategies for improving WASH for urban poor communities, and in turn, unlocking the urban resilience of cities across South Asia.

Scaling City Institutions for India (SCI-FI)
The Water and Sanitation initiative under the SCI-FI initiative seeks to understand diverse reasons for poor water and sanitation and to examine how these might be related to technology, service delivery models, questions of institutions, governance, finance, and socio-economic dimensions. The SCI-FI: Water and Sanitation initiative seeks to support national, state, and city authorities to develop policies and programmes for intervention with the goal of increasing access to safe and sustainable sanitation in both urban and rural areas. The SCI-FI initiative is nested at the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) since 2013.