This post originally appeared on Global Warming is Real.
In 2010, the United Nations passed resolution 64/292 mandating the basic human right to water and sanitation.
This is due, in part, to a growing awareness that the standard philanthropic model of charity doesn't work. Wells are dug, latrines are built, pictures are taken and published in media for the funders back home. Intentions are good but lasting results don't happen. Wells sit abandoned or dried-up, latrines broken and unused. Access to clean water is controlled by a "water mafia" after the well-meaning, but ultimately ineffective, NGO or charity is long gone.
A common thread in my conversations with Water.org co-founder, Gary White, and Safe Water Network Sr. VP for strategic initiatives, Amanda Gimble, was the evolution in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector (WASH) toward using local market-based principals to ensure lasting impact, long after the initial "intervention."
Two examples of market-based solutions:
As Ned Breslin, CEO of Water for People, says in this Thomson Reuters Fund interview, the WASH sector has failed to meet the goal of safe water and sanitation for all people. But this failure is only the beginning of the story and the impetus to continue to innovate new solutions. I briefly met Ned while at World Water Week. His frank expression of the reality of this failure, and the need to find new ways to forge real change serves as a good synopsis of my takeaways from Stockholm.
Disclosure: My trip to Stockholm for World Water Week was paid for by PepsiCo. Water.org and The Safe Water Network are core partners in PepsiCo's water stewardship initiatives.
Featured image credit: European Commission, courtesy flickr
Tom is the founder, editor, and publisher of GlobalWarmingisReal.com and the TDS Environmental Media Network. He has been a contributor for Triple Pundit since 2007. Tom has also written for Slate, Earth911, the Pepsico Foundation, Cleantechnia, Planetsave, and many other sustainability-focused publications. He is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists