UNESCAP, UN-HABITAT Workshop Discusses Decentralized Wastewater Management

unescap-unhabitat21 March 2014: Improving sanitation and wastewater management benefits poor communities, especially women, and improves ecosystem and human health, according to participants at the Regional Policy Workshop of Stakeholders on Decentralized Waste Water Treatment Systems (DEWATS) in Southeast Asia.

National and local government participants presented good practices, policy tools and challenges related to sanitation and wastewater management at the workshop, which was jointly organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT). Discussions focused on financial, institutional, policy and technical aspects of wastewater management, as well as on positive outcomes from wastewater management systems and practical solutions for DEWATS in Southeast Asia. Participants also discussed inputs for a DEWATS guidance manual, criteria for identifying a DEWATS regional resource center, promotional materials and workplans.

The workshop drew on a joint UNESCAP-UN-HABITAT project, titled ‘Strengthening capacity of policymakers in Southeast Asia to promote policies and developing plans for improved wastewater treatment and reuse in urban and peri-urban areas,' in Cambodia, Viet Nam and Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR), which aims to achieve universal access to water and sanitation. DEWATS provides a low-cost wastewater solution for rapidly urbanizing areas of developing countries, where other options may not be suitable, according to ESCAP and UN-HABITAT.

The workshop took place from 19-21 March 2014, in Bangkok, Thailand. It aimed to raise awareness and knowledge among national policymakers, local government officials and other experts on DEWATS for urban and semi-urban communities. It included a commemoration of World Water Day. [UNESCAP Press Release] [UNESCAP Event Description] [Workshop Concept Note]