Thinking the Unthinkable: Harnessing the Pandemic to Improve SDG-6, Health and Sanitation

The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has highlighted the importance of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) in protecting human health. However, while the Asia-Pacific region has seen significant progress towards SDG 6 targets during the past 20 years, the region still faces critical challenges due to scarce water resources, rapid population growth, and poor public infrastructure.

COVID-19 is a highly communicable disease, transmitted by contact and airborne particles and was declared a ‘Global Pandemic’ in March 2020. However, the most notable recommendation was the need for comprehensive WASH practices, which requires communities to have safe, accessible, and sustainable water resources. COVID-19 has impacted almost every aspect of human life from health, to livelihoods, food security, human rights, gender equality, and mortality. This crisis calls for collaboration and solidarity on the development of improved prevention strategies and strengthened resilience in the face of global health shocks. Namely, it is important to understand the role SDG 6 played in the management of the COVID-19 outbreak, how progress has been impacted, and what actions are required to accelerate SDG 6 progress in a COVID-19 context.

Experts will assess the role of water in the current responses to Covid-19 and in future phases of recovery and resilience. How Covid-19 has impacted differently in improvement of the water, health and sanitation.