WHO Releases Water Quality and Health Strategy for 2013-2020

WHOApril 2013: The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a strategy for the prevention of waterborne diseases that will serve as framework for action by the WHO Secretariat for the period 2013-2020.

The strategy, dated 26 January 2013, aims to achieve the highest possible reduction in waterborne and water-related diseases by providing up-to-date and evidence-based guidance and support on interventions regarding water sanitation and hygiene. It further seeks to: increase the number countries with effective policies and risk management; improve risk management and communication by all stakeholders; and establish effective networks and collaborations for exchanging resources, raising awareness, and responding to water quality and health issues.

The strategy will achieve these outcomes by meeting the following strategic objectives: obtaining evidence on water quality and health; providing water quality management guidelines and supporting resources; strengthening capacity of member States; facilitating implementation of water quality and health activities; and monitoring impacts of the above activities on policies, practice and informing decision making.

The document provides background information on the burden of disease, linkages with global change, the economic risk-benefit approach; the WHO policy framework, international agreements and strategies; and guidelines for promoting effective policies and practices. The strategy itself consists of a harmonized approach to water quality management, harmonized risk assessment and management, optimization of guidelines development, and a management structure for implementation.

The strategy was developed through a consultative process building on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the human rights to water and sanitation, and the post-2015 process. [Publication: Water Quality and Health Strategy: 2013-2020] [Health Strategy Webpage]