We envisage a global society in which nobody suffers from diseases caused by poor sanitation, water or water quality. A world in which nobody needs to practice open defecation and nobody lacks access to safe and clean sanitation facilities and water supply. The European Initiative for Sanitation and Health, EuSAIN, advocates that Sanitation must be recognised by authorities as a priority issue. Good access to drinking water and sanitation promotes an educated and healthy workforce, which constitutes an essential factor for sustained economic growth. Clean, accessible water for all is an essential part of the world we want to live in. There is sufficient fresh water on the planet to achieve this, but still every year millions of people, most of them children, die from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene.

Water cycle and sanitation operators and other stakeholders in water, sanitation and health services must cooperate and help each other to achieve universal access to sustainable services through not-for-profit peer support partnerships. EuSAIN supports stakeholders to build organisational, technical, financial and management capacities to provide sustainable, high-quality sanitation and water services for all and advance public health for people in cities and in rural areas.

Clean water and sanitation are at the core of liveable cities and resilient communities. Achieving SDG 6 is a precondition for achieving other Sustainable Development Goals and to achieve a life in dignity and prosperity for all. Human Rights are universal and EuSAIN will promote implementation of the human rights to water and sanitation in all countries and at all levels.

Facts and figures

  • 2.6 billion people have gained access to improved drinking water sources since 1990, but 663 million people are still without.
  • At least 1.8 billion people globally use a source of drinking water that is fecally contaminated.
  • 2.4 billion people lack access to basic sanitation services, such as toilets or latrines.
  • More than 80 per cent of wastewater resulting from human activities is discharged into rivers or sea without any pollution removal.
  • Each day, nearly 1,000 children die due to preventable water and sanitation-related diarrhoeal diseases.


Our mission is to raise awareness at international, national and local level among all stakeholders; professionals and people, that sanitation is key to achieve sustainable water cycle services and to achieve water and sanitation and a healthier life for all, reducing child mortality and stunting. Through partnerships that strengthen capacities and support utilities, local authorities and civil society organisations, the targets of SDG 6 can be achieved and the human rights to sanitation and water can be realised.

In water scarce regions we need ‘toilets’ without the need for sewer or water connections, and low-cost approaches to treating faecal sludge that results in usable products, such as energy or fertilizers. This will encourage new public and private providers and partnerships to collect and treat waste. The European Initiative for Sanitation and Health aims to build these new partnerships, addressing the challenge on Sanitation with an inclusive approach. Inclusive meaning that it is about people. People that need sanitation, people that work to provide sanitation facilities and services in governments, utilities and companies, but also people in knowledge institutes and in Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). We ensure active participation of all stakeholders to realize sustainable solutions and achieve the final goals: Sanitation, Water and Health for all by 2030.

Some of the areas where sanitation needs will be greatest in the coming 15 years are already suffering water shortages and facing rapid population growth, so the impetus of the SDGs towards integrated development planning for water use, reuse and recycling between sectors and to protect ecosystems (in Goals 6, 12 and 15) is particularly welcome. A range of “sustainable sanitation” systems are available that minimize water inputs and enable its safe, efficient recycling. To shift to sustainable sanitation provision, countries will need to integrate sanitation into sustainable development planning, institutions and policies in a way that helps maximize the benefits and minimize trade-offs. We also need to keep developing innovative ways to work with communities that not only motivate people to abandon open defecation, but also to reuse sanitation wastewater and “humanure”.

We emphasize capacity building of people and institutions. Awareness raising comes first. When people realize and see the benefits of sanitation to their health, livelihoods and communities they will take responsibility to extend, maintain or improve their sanitation systems. Local ownership is key for success of sustainable development.

For this reason, a game changer is needed; an approach that puts sanitation at the first place and at the highest priority for meeting the SDGs. EuSAIN will introduce a new holistic approach that includes all stakeholders from public and private sector and civil society.


EuSAIN is not about constructing toilets, latrines, or sewerage systems! We build partnerships and capacities of people to find local, sustainable answers and solutions for the problems caused by poor, or lack of, sanitation, water and water quality.

Experience has shown that expected health benefits of clean drinking water are not materialized because of a lack of improvement in sanitation and/or hygiene. Water, Sanitation and Hygiene need to be addressed in a coherent, integrated and holistic approach. Awareness of as well as recognition for the importance of sanitation needs to be raised and more organisations/stakeholders need to be mobilised in order to realize SDG 6 and the other SDGs.

The need for capacity building in water and sanitation services is high. The world water development report of 2016 indicates that three out of four of the jobs worldwide are water-dependent. The skills, qualities and capacities of employed human resources are vital for the successful performance of the water sectors and for the sustained use, adaptation and development of scientific and technological innovations. The lack of capacity and the challenges facing the water sectors require the design of adequate training tools and innovative learning approaches to enhance the competencies of staff as well as to strengthen institutional capacity. This applies to government and its agencies, river basin organizations as well as other groups including private sector organizations. Solutions to filling these gaps include: creating an enabling policy environment for collaborative frameworks between the education sector, sector employers (public, private, NGOs), trade unions and employees; developing incentives to attract and retain staff; strengthening technical and vocational training; and giving attention to human resources capacity development in rural areas. New and transversal skills also need to be instilled to respond to new needs.

Water shortages and lack of access may limit economic growth in the years to come. Investments in safe drinking water and sanitation have been shown to foster sustainable development. Access to safe and reliable water supply and sanitation services at home,at schools and the workplace is critical to maintaining a healthy population.

Access to good sanitation and water services and improved health must be addressed at local level. Participation of local civil society organisations and cooperation with local government is crucial. Sustainable solutions must be fit to local situations and therefore be decentralized in their nature. In each country and in each region the situation is different. We help buiding local capacities and empower local people to create local, innovative solutions and solve local problems. All together they will solve the global water and sanitation crisis.

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