Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council

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Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council
Logo for the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC).jpg
Type Intergovernmental organisation
Focus Sanitation, hygiene, water supply
Area served
World wide, with particular focus on Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia
Key people

Dr Christopher W. Williams, Executive Director

Prof. Anna Tibaijuka, Chair
Website wsscc.org
Vision and Mission
The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council's vision is of a world where everybody has sustained water supply, sanitation and hygiene.

The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) is a global membership organization hosted by the United Nations that specializes in sanitation and hygiene for poor people in countries with severe sanitation and hygiene needs. It was recognized formally in 1990 through a United Nations General Assembly resolution, with a mandate to continue to working on water and sanitation issues following the end of the International Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade (1981-1990).[1]

The focus of its activities is behaviour change (e.g. through education and training), advocacy, grant financing, outreach and communications, project management and collaboration with government agencies, non-governmental organisations, international organisations, civil society groups and private sector interests at the national, regional and local levels. Key collaborating partners include WaterAid, WSP (The World Bank Water and Sanitation Programme), and UNICEF, among others.[2]

WSSCC’s Secretariat is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and oversees a network of over 5,000 members in more than 130 countries, as well as supporting water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) coalitions in 20 countries. The organisation focuses mainly on improving sanitation coverage. The UN estimates that 2.5 billion people[3] live without access to safe sanitation.

WSSCC is an unincorporated membership organization and not a separate legal entity. From 1991 to 2009, it was hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO). Since 2010, WSSCC has been hosted by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).[4]


In 1990, a group of senior staff of developing country governments, bilateral and multilateral agencies, NGOs and research institutions founded the WSSCC. On December 21, 1990, the 45th Session of the UN General Assembly elected to pass resolution A/RES/45/181, which emphasized the ‘importance of intensifying the coordination of national activities undertaken with the assistance of all relevant agencies in the field of water supply and sanitation through, in particular, the inter-agency Steering Committee for Co-operative Action for the International Drinking Water Decade and the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council’. Through this resolution the WSSCC was formally established as an independent organization with a UN mandate.

During the 1990s, WSSCC concentrated on sharing knowledge among its Members and convening thematic discussion groups on water- and sanitation-related topics. In 2000, WSSCC published Vision 21, a proposal for achieving universal water, sanitation and hygiene coverage.[5]

After 2000, WSSCC expanded its work to include advocacy and communications. It introduced WASH as an umbrella term for water, sanitation and hygiene; this acronym has been broadly adopted in international development circles.[6] Its members and staff lobbied for a Millennium Development Goal target for sanitation, which was adopted at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa.[7]

Since 2007, WSSCC has focused on sanitation and hygiene, adding a dedicated sanitation grant financing mechanism (the Global Sanitation Fund) in addition to its networking, knowledge and advocacy work.

Organizational structure[edit]

WSSCC is made up of three ‘branches’: 1) the Steering Committee, which is an elected board of governance;[8] 2) the Secretariat in Geneva, which is responsible for the overall management of WSSCC’s operations; and 3) UNOPS, which provides the legal structure and administrative framework for WSSCC (see above).

The WSSCC Steering Committee decides the policies and strategies of the organization, manages the governance process, and is accountable to both the membership and the donors for its work. It is made up of a chair, regional members, partner agency members, ex officio members, non-voting invitees, and permanent non-voting observers. All WSSCC members are eligible to stand and vote in elections for the Steering Committee. The current Chair is Anna Tibaijuka, who has been in post since 2011. Previous Chairs were: Roberto Lenton, 2005 – 2011; Sir Richard Jolly, 1997 – 2004; and Margaret Catley-Carlson, 1990 – 1996.

The WSSCC Secretariat supports its members, partners and the global sanitation community, serving as a focal point for WASH issues for others in the international development community. The Secretariat’s Executive Director is Christopher Williams, who joined WSSCC from UN-Habitat in 2012 and succeeded Jon Lane, who had led the organization from 2007 to 2012. The two previous Executive Directors were: Gourisankar Ghosh (2001–2006); and Ranjith Wirasinha (1991–2000). Most of the 20-plus Secretariat staff work in three departments: Networking and Knowledge Management, Advocacy and Communications and the Global Sanitation Fund.

Global Sanitation Fund[edit]

Through the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF), a pooled fund designed to increase financing in the sanitation sector, WSSCC supports national efforts to increase access to safe sanitation and good hygiene practices. GSF programmes specifically target populations in developing countries to end open defecation and works with stakeholders to improve access to sanitation, primarily in rural areas. The criteria for country selection for the Global Sanitation Fund, and thus support from WSSCC, are the number of people without sanitation, the percentage of people without sanitation and the Human Development Index.[9]

As of 30 June 2013, the Global Sanitation Fund supported programmes in Cambodia, Ethiopia, India, Madagascar, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda. In those countries, approximately 100 sub-grantees such as NGOs and community groups have used behaviour change and educational awareness activities to support 1.5 million people to end open defecation and use improved toilets.[10]

At the global level, WSSCC's Secretariat gathers funds and donations, selects the eligible countries for funding, and manages the disbursement of grants to national Global Sanitation Fund programmes. The GSF is formally a trust fund of the United Nations.


The organization receives supported multi-donor, multi-year pooled funding from six governments: Australia, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.[11] According to its 2012 Annual Report, the WSSCC operating budget in 2012 was US$26.4 million.[12]


  1. ^ "A/RES/45/181. International Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade". Un.org. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  2. ^ "Partners". WSSCC. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  3. ^ "Progress on drinking water and sanitation Joint Monitoring Programme update 2012". World Health Organization. WHO/UNICEF. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  4. ^ "UNOPS announced as new host for the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council Secretariat". WSSCC. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  5. ^ "VISION 21: A Shared Vision for Hygiene, Sanitation and Water Supply and A Framework for Action". WSSCC. 2011-06-30. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  6. ^ Sanitation and hygiene programming guidance (PDF). World Health Organization and WSSCC. 2005. pp. VIII. ISBN 9241593032. 
  7. ^ "Reporting on progress from Member States | International Decade for Action 'Water for Life' 2005-2015". Un.org. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  8. ^ "Governance". WSSCC. 2013-05-15. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  9. ^ "WSSCC Medium Term Strategic Plan 2012-2016.". 
  10. ^ "Global Sanitation Fund Progress Report - 2013 Mid-Year Update". WSSCC. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  11. ^ "Donors". WSSCC. 2013-05-15. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  12. ^ "annual report 2012 aw lowres 0.pdf" (PDF). WSSCC. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 

External links[edit]