Strategies for building resilience to hazards in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) systems: The role of public private partnerships. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 15 July 2014.
Authors: Ase Johannessen, Arno Rosemarin, Frank Thomall, Asa Gerger Swartling, Thor Axel Stenström, Gregor Vulturius.
The aim of this paper is to enhance understanding of how the resilience of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) systems to hazards can be improved. In turn, this aims to inform different strategies for public and private partnerships (PPPs). In a new approach, to acknowledge the multi levelled nature of resilience; risk at the relevant levels are taken into account, (regional/river basin, urban area, and individual). For these levels, we first describe the different components of risk, vulnerability and resilience of the WASH system that influence people׳s exposure to hazards. We illustrate these components using examples from case studies in the literature.
Using a social learning lens – a crucial ingredient of resilience – we examine opportunities for reducing risks through improving public–private engagement. These are presented as strategies which could guide investment decisions: As pressures from climate change and development add up, businesses must become aware of the risks involved in operating and investing without considering ecosystem health, both in terms of the services they provide for mitigating floods and droughts, as well as in terms of the development approaches that define how ecosystems are managed (e.g. “making space” for, rather than controlling water). There is a need to develop an institutional culture that strives towards greener and more resilient urban environments with the help of various quality assurance methods. Partnerships must reach the poorer customer base, encourage informal small entrepreneurs, and boost financial mechanisms (e.g. micro-insurance, micro-finance) to support the most vulnerable in society.