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Achieving equality in water and sanitation services

Time (GMT +00) 09:30 11:00

Contributing chair

Roger Calow - Senior Research Fellow, ODI


Dr Callist Tindimugaya - Commissioner for Water Resources Planning and Regulation, Ministry of Water and Environment, Uganda

Tom Slaymaker @tomslaymaker - Senior Statistics and Monitoring Specialist (WASH), UNICEF

Chilufya Chileshe @ChilufyaC - Regional Advocacy Manager, WaterAid

Dr Oliver Cumming - Assistant Professor of Environmental Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Eva Ludi Head of Programme, Water Policy, ODI


Access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is widely acknowledged to play a transformative role in reducing poverty and strengthening livelihoods. Although many countries achieved significant progress in extending access to these basic services over the lifetime of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the targets were criticised for their modest ambition and scope. The drinking water target was met in 2010, but with major disparities in access between and within regions, countries and groups. The world fell well short of achieving the sanitation target, with similar concerns raised about services, or rather the lack of them, for the poorest and most vulnerable people.     

The commitment to ‘leave no one behind’ under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted in 2015, marked a new and much-needed commitment to universality. World leaders have agreed ambitious new global targets to achieve universal access to safe and affordable drinking water and adequate sanitation and hygiene by 2030. The aim is to redress the huge and persistent inequalities in access to services that affect people’s lives. However, this shift in focus has major implications for the ways in which the next generation of WASH policies and programmes are conceived, designed, financed and monitored.

ODI convenes an expert panel to discuss these issues and point the way ahead, drawing on the latest research presented in a new book, Equality in Water and Sanitation Services. This event explores the following key questions:

  • What exactly needs to change to achieve universal access to water and sanitation services?
  • What can we learn from those countries that have bucked the trend - where inequalities in water and sanitation access have been successfully addressed?
  • How can we unite relevant actors to ensure that progress is on track to fulfill the 2030 Goals?


Roger Calow is a Senior Research Fellow at ODI and an Honorary Research Associate at the British Geological Survey (BGS). Over the last 25 years, Roger has worked on a wide range of water service and water resource management issues in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. He is lead author of Chapter 6 on the Environmental Dimensions of Access to Safe Water in Equality in Water and Sanitation Services (2018), edited by panel members Oliver Cumming and Tom Slaymaker.

Dr Callist Tindimugaya is Commissioner for Water Resources Planning and Regulation in the Ministry of Water and Environment, Uganda.  Callist started his professional career in 1990 as a hydrogeologist in the Ministry of Natural Resources and became Head of the Groundwater Section in 1999, responsible for all groundwater management activities in Uganda. Since 2007, he has been Commissioner for Water Resources Planning and Regulation in the Ministry of Water and Environment, responsible for planning, allocating and regulating water resources.

Tom Slaymaker is a Senior Statistics and Monitoring Specialist in the Data and Alalytics section at UNICEF headquarters in New York, USA. He has nearly 20 years’ experience working on water and sanitation in Africa and Asia, and currently co-leads the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (JMP).

Chilufya Chileshe is Regional Advocacy Manager for WaterAid in Southern Africa. She has over 12 years’ experience leading civil society pro-poor policy analysis and advocacy. She is currently coordinating WaterAid’s engagements with the African Ministers Council on Water and is playing a key role in supporting an improved focus on equality in WaterAid Country programming.

Dr Oliver Cumming is Assistant Professor of Environmental Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK, where he works on the epidemiology of water and sanitation-related diseases. He is currently working on multiple trials to assess the impact of water and sanitation interventions on childhood enteric infection, undernutrition and oral vaccine failure in Africa and South Asia.

Eva Ludi is Head of the Water Policy Programme and a geographer with a diverse project portfolio. She has over 15 years of experience in research and policy particularly related to climate change adaptation, adaptive capacity, water and food security, sustainable rural development and sustainable natural resource management.

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