No climate resilience without WASH: a call to action

Climate change, Finance
Image: WaterAid/ Basile Ouedraogo

Read our briefing note for climate and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) policy makers and experts, with recommendations for how to focus on climate-resilient WASH in West Africa.

Climate change is altering the water cycle through floods, droughts and rising sea levels, affecting water availability, quantity and quality. In West Africa, where 106 million people do not have clean water close to home and 256 million do not have a decent toilet, these changes are compounding the water and sanitation crisis.

Lack of access to WASH and insufficient measures to address the effects of climate change are intertwined – they cannot be solved separately and must be addressed through multi-stakeholder engagement.

Despite the undeniable link between combatting climate change and ensuring universal access to water and sanitation, the connection is rarely reflected in national climate commitments and policies. According to WaterAid West Africa, this represents one of the main barriers to practical, government-led implementation of climate-resilient water and sanitation action on the ground.

In this briefing note, aimed at policy makers and experts in both the climate and WASH sectors, we analyse how WASH is integrated in climate policies (Nationally Determined Contributions, National Adaptation Plans), highlight why West African governments need to focus more on climate-resilient WASH and provide key recommendations. We focus on three countries in West Africa: Burkina Faso, Ghana and Niger.

Top image: Justine Sawadogo, 30, crouching in a dry plot, next to the dam in the village of Bonam, in the commune of Boulsa, Burkina Faso.