Making Blended Finance Work for Water and Sanitation

Unlocking Commercial Finance for SDG 6

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Investments in water and sanitation are a prerequisite to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular on SDG 6 ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. Blended finance can play an important role in strategically investing development finance to mobilise additional commercial finance needed to fill the current investment gaps. Thus far, however, blended finance has not reached scale in the water and sanitation sector. A greater evidence base is needed to better understand the current applications as well as the potential of blended models in the water and sanitation sector. This publication takes a commercial investment perspective and provides insights into three subsectors: (1) water and sanitation utilities, (2) small-scale off-grid sanitation and (3) multi-purpose water infrastructure and landscape-based approaches. The publication draws out recommendations for policy makers and practitioners to apply and scale innovative blended finance approaches where most appropriate.



With over 2 billion people without access to safe drinking water, 4.5 billion people lacking access to safely managed sanitation, and growing pressures on the quantity and quality of water resources, water and sanitation has been prioritised by the international community as Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6. But, it cannot be separated from all aspects of development; whether we achieve SDG 6 will impact every other SDG. Water and sanitation services and water resources management are especially relevant for food security, healthy lives, clean energy, sustainable cities, marine and terrestrial biodiversity and ecosystems. According to the World Health Organisation and UNICEF, 620 million children do not have decent toilets at school and around 900 million lack clean water to wash their hands. This discourages students, particularly girls, from attending school and completing their education. Better water and sanitation in schools is a practical measure to promote the education of the next generation of thinkers and leaders, especially women and girls.


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