Department Sanitation, Water and Solid Waste for Development

A Sanitation Journey - Principles, Approaches & Tools for Urban Sanitation

Sanitation and hygiene are the foundation of healthy cities. They are a primary prerequisite for the health of our societies as well as economic development. However, achieving safe and sustainable urban sanitation for all has proven to be difficult, especially for the vulnerable and poor.

The publication "A Sanitation Journey - Principles, Approaches and Tools for Urban Sanitation" provides an orientation to the sector’s current status and future directions, aimed at both sanitation professionals and those outside the sector. The publication describes the historical background of how urban sanitation in the Global South has developed and how the international discourse about strategies to improve urban sanitation have evolved over the past decades. It also presents a set of proven approaches and implementation tools currently in demand to achieve progress in urban sanitation and hygiene.


The outlook chapter advocates for recognising sanitation as a crucial part of the bigger picture of urban sustainability. It argues that sanitation systems offer the potential to be a key contributor to urban sustainability beyond health and hygiene. For example, effluents from wastewater treatment plants can be used for landscaping and urban green spaces. Likewise, the recovery of nutrients from effluents or sludge, for instance, can contribute to urban horticulture, closing the material cycles at local and regional levels.

It underlines that the Urban Sanitation Journey must continue to make the lives of the billions of current and future city dwellers safer, healthier and more liveable. It is a contribution to the sector to strive for sustainable urban sanitation for all.

Click here to access the publication "A Sanitation Journey"


Bibliographic information

Schertenleib, R., Lüthi, C., Panesar, A., Büürma, M., Kapur, D., Narayan, A., Pres, A., Salian, P., Spuhler, D., Tempel, A. (2021). A Sanitation Journey - Principles, Approaches & Tools for Urban Sanitation. Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA), GIZ Sector Programme “Sustainable Sanitation, Eawag-Sandec