On World Water Day 2016, WSUP was one of 11 partners behind the launch of WASH4Work, a new initiative to support business action towards the Sustainable Development Goal on universal access to water and sanitation.

With the launch of the SDGs, world leaders have publicly acknowledged that water and sanitation are essential for eradicating poverty and fundamental to sustainable development everywhere.

At WSUP, we are passionate believers in the transformative power of markets and innovation: enormous strides can be made by bringing the local and international private sector into the urban WASH space, by driving business thinking in public service provision and by viewing low-income people as consumers who make choices.

But the dynamising power of markets can only partially resolve the problem: deep political commitment and institutional change are equally critical. Sustainable at-scale progress in urban WASH will only be achieved if political leaders prioritise government investment and policy change, and if WASH service providers are assisted to radically enhance their capacity to deliver effectively on that investment.

WASH4Work, which was launched on World Water Day, 22 March, is strongly aligned with these core beliefs and WSUP is excited to be a partner in this initiative. WASH4Work recognises that in order for universal access to WASH to be achieved, business needs to be galvinised to address safe access to WASH in the workplace, communities where workers live and across supply chains.

The partners will support business, governments and the public by working to gather evidence and create solutions, advocate at national and global levels and enable and monitor business action. By mobilising business skills and finance, encouraging governments to enable and support business contributions to WASH and supporting citizen, worker and consumer voices, the initiative aims to make universal WASH access a reality.

Launched with a high-level discussion on the private sector and WASH at the United Nations headquarters in New York, WASH4Work was established in recognition of the need to consolidate and scale up existing private sector and WASH-related initiatives under an umbrella movement, to make a meaningful contribution to SDG6 and generate business value.

The launch was hosted by the Permanent Mission of Sweden, with remarks from the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, Swedish State Secretary for Foreign Affairs H.E. Annika Soder and panellists from business, international organisations and civil society. WSUP’s CEO, Neil Jeffery, attended and spoke at the launch event as a panellist.

The current WASH4Work partners are: Global Poverty Project, International Labor Organization, UN Foundation, UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate, UNICEF, Unilever, USAID, WSUP, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, WaterAid and World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

For further information, please visit http://www.wateractionhub.org/wash4work.