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No One Left Behind

Good Practices to Ensure Equitable Access to Water and Sanitation in the Pan-European Region

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This publication presents good practices and lessons learned from throughout the pan-European region on the policies and measures to be enacted to provide equitable access to water and sanitation. It distinguishes three key dimensions of equitable access: geographical disparities; specific barriers faced by vulnerable and marginalized groups; and affordability concerns. A range of available policy options to fight inequities in each of those key dimensions are presented. The examples contained in this publication should support and encourage policy and decision makers at the national and local levels, as well as private and public operators, non-governmental organizations, international donors and other concerned actors to review and, where appropriate, replicate or adapt existing approaches and put in place new or additional measures, to ensure equitable access to water and sanitation.

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Executive summary

Access to water and sanitation has been recognized as a human right by the United Nations General Assembly and the Human Rights Council. This means that ensuring access to water and sanitation for all is a legal obligation. And in order to comply with this obligation, special attention needs to be paid at an early stage to ensure that access to water and sanitation is equitable for all members of the population. This publication distinguishes three key dimensions in the concept of equitable access to water and sanitation: geographical differences in service provided; discrimination or exclusion in access to services by vulnerable and marginalized groups; and financial affordability for users. The strong linkages between the provision of water supply services and the provision of sanitation services demand a holistic approach to promoting equitable access to water and sanitation.

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