Normative activities undertaken under the Trust Fund provide a forum for policy dialogue among national governments, local authorities, non-governmental organisations and local stakeholders. This includes developing norms, standards, conventions and disseminating information to enhance understanding and awareness of water and sanitation issues.
UN-HABITAT published the first Global Report on Water and Sanitation in the World’s Cities: Local Action for Global Goals in 2003. The report brought out three critical areas of action priorities. The urgent need to appraise policy makers of the true magnitude of the urban water and sanitation crisis, the widening gap between the growing demand and the current provisioning of water and sanitation services, and a call for a broad-based partnership of all key stakeholders on the water scene including governments, the private sector and the communities themselves. The impact of the report was beyond expectation and the publication was reprinted in 2005 in response to high demand.
In March 2006, UN-HABITAT launched the second Global Report on Water and Sanitation: Meeting the Development Goals in Small Urban Centres, during the 4th World Water Week in Mexico City, Mexico. The report reveals that the largest share of future urban growth will be from small urban centres of less than half a million people where service provision for both water and sanitation is woefully inadequate. Small urban centres tend to be overlooked: in 2003, OECD funding in the water sector amounted to US $3 billion in Official Development Assistance, of which only 13% was allocated to small urban centres yet small urban centres are the first tier markets and service providers for rural enterprise and development. The publication is intended as a critical contribution to the road map to meeting the MDGs.
Under the Trust Fund, UN-HABITAT develops a range of policy and technical guidelines with an increasing emphasis on their application through the regional water programmes. In partnership with the World Bank, a provisional assessment tool “Pro poor Governance in Urban Water Supply” has been developed for application in pilot cities.
Various Guidebooks have also been developed to support water suppliers and water education specialists in their work including:
- Water Demand Management Cook Book, a guide book developed in association with Rand Water of South Africa and actively applied by the Water for Asian Cities’ programme in Madhya Pradesh, India.
- Guide book on Urban Catchment Management, which describes a methodology of urban catchment management that is currently being applied in selected cities covered under the Water for African Cities programme and in four cities in India under the Water for Asian Cities programme.
- Various guidebooks focusing on human values-based water, sanitation and hygiene education (HVBWSHE) has been developed jointly by ENPHO [full name], Nepal and VBEDI [full name], South Africa for learners between the age group of 5-18 years.
- The Blue Drop Series was developed in collaboration with the International Rainwater Harvesting Association and City Foundation. It provides guidelines on effective and efficient rainwater harvesting for policy makers, donors and project managers working with rainwater harvesting.
- Gender Mainstreaming Strategy Framework – a strategy document for water and sanitation utilities to be used to develop gender sensitive norms and standards and to support enhanced participation of women in water and sanitation utilities and decision making processes.. The publication will also be used to inform and influence national policies and sector reforms to make them more gender sensitive.
- A series of papers on “Getting the private sector to work for the urban poor”, were also prepared for the Second World Urban Forum. The papers provide a critical review of the informal water vendors, local water and sanitation companies and the role of community based organisations in the management of water and sanitation supplies.