Industry Desk: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) yesterday affirmed its commitment to water and sanitation investments in the 2020 Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) Asia and the Pacific Finance Ministers’ Meeting.
Representatives of development agencies and finance ministers from Asia and the Pacific joined the virtual meeting and discussed concrete ways to ensure universal access to water, sanitation, and hygiene, according to a media release received yesterday.
Finance ministers highlighted success stories in the region where governments were able to implement a mix of financing and regulation to ensure people’s access to water and sanitation, which also generates substantial benefits for the economy, public health, and the environment.
“We know that every dollar invested in water and sanitation results in a four-fold return,” said ADB Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development Bambang Susantono.
“Together with reduced healthcare costs and greater productivity in the workplace, water and sanitation investments bring long-term returns to individual households and the wider economy. It also helps reduce inequality and empower women,” he added. Susantono discussed ADB’s $20 billion coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic response package announced on 13 April. A multisectoral Water and Health Advisory Team was also established across ADB to expand water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and health interventions to address COVID-19 through these investments. ADB will invest through 2021 more than $3.4 billion in water supply, sanitation, and wastewater treatment. ADB is also responding with numerous new integrated WASH and health-related technical assistance, loans, and strategic alliances. Aside from being a pandemic response, ADB’s WASH support will also focus on water-related diseases, health, and livelihoods in the long term. The program will be using an inclusive approach targeting vulnerable groups. “We remain committed to providing universal access to WASH to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and build resilience against future pandemics. These are investments for the future of our people,” said Susantono. The SWA Asia and the Pacific Finance Ministers’ Meeting is one of three regional convenings organized by the SWA partnership. The co-conveners are UNICEF, the World Bank Water Global Practice, and the Asian Development Bank.