Speaker Series #20 – Water and Sanitation: WASH in Crisis and Recovery

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Cities on the Frontline

#20 – July 23, 2020

Speakers:

Japheth Habinshuti N, Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) City of Kigali – Kigali’s Response to Covid-19: Hygene in Public Spaces [PDF]
Michael John Webster, Executive Director: Water and Waste, City of Cape Town – Building Resilience in Cape Town’s Water Services [PDF]
Jennifer Sara, Global Director, Water Global Practice, World Bank Group
Henk Ovink, Special Envoy for International Water Affairs at Kingdom of the Netherlands.

In a world facing climate change and a global health crisis, clean water, safe sanitation, and improved hygiene has never been more important. In many cities around the world particularly in Africa and the Global South, water utilities and municipalities often lack both capacity and infrastructure to ensure a continuous, equitable safe water supply under the emergency conditions the pandemic has created. Cities and their service providers face enormous challenges, such as aging infrastructure, high levels of non-revenue water, and poor water quality.

Exposed to Ebola and other threats, Japheth Habinshuti N, Chief Resilience Officer of City of Kigali explained how the city had been preparing for outbreaks long before the first coronavirus case. He emphasizes the importance of collaboration between government agencies, religious leaders, trade cooperatives and communities, in the fight against COVID-19.

Cape Town is proof that shocks can be a catalyst for a more resilient city. Michael John Webster, Executive Director: Water and Waste, City of Cape Town showed how the City responded to consecutive years of serious droughts by turning around what was a struggling water utility into a highly performing one. He explained how responding to the Covid19 crisis today will further accelerate programs to better serve the poorest part of the city.

Jennifer Sara, Global Director, Water Global Practice, World Bank Group and Henk Ovink Special Envoy for International Water Affairs at Kingdom of the Netherlands encouraged cities to focus their build back better programs, not just on economic recovery, but also on sustainability and resilience.

Watch full session here:

Speaker Series #20 – Water and Sanitation: WASH in Crisis and Recovery