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Governance in Urban Sanitation 2013

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Governance in Urban Sanitation 2013

Deadline: Closed
The registration is closed.
Web Based
23 Sep 2013 to 29 Nov 2013
Duration of event:
10 Weeks
Programme Area:
Local Development
Specific Target Audience:
UNITAR does not provide any financial assistance.
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Event Focal Point Contact Number:
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In 2000, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Millennium Development Goals that challenged the global community to reduce poverty and increase the health and well-being of all peoples. Two years later, the World Summit on Sustainable Development added access to basic sanitation as a centerpiece of sustainable development strategy and set a series of actions to achieve the global sanitation target – halving the proportion of people without access to basic sanitation by the year 2015.

Nearly 40% of the world’s population still lacks adequate sanitation. Developing access to sanitation services poses technical, institutional, financial and also social and cultural challenges. Major obstacles relate to governance deficiencies, especially the lack of adequate institutional framework. Other hindrances include the weak priority given to sanitation and the insufficiency of substantial investment in the sector. Besides investment, sustainable solutions should also adequately address the other dimensions, especially institutional and financial aspects. It is thus essential to implement sustainable institutional arrangements ensuring the setting up of a political anchor for the sanitation sector as well as responsiveness to the demand, transparency and accountability to users, financial sustainability, and the involvement of all the actors in their area of expertise.

In this context, UNITAR proposes the e-learning course Governance in Urban Sanitation.

The goal of the course is to enhance the capacity of local decision-makers and sanitation professionals to make the most enlightened decisions and investments in the area of urban sanitation. It provides analytical tools to understand the financial and institutional framework of the sanitation sector, taking into account the needs of urban poor communities.

  • Identify the benefits of sanitation;
  • Analyze costs and financing of sanitation services;
  • Identify suitable institutional arrangements and evaluate service provider options, benefits and limits;
  • Integrate accountability when structuring relationships;
  • Make communities and microfinance organizations partners in extending sanitation services to the poor;
  • Assess specific situations and recommend financial and institutional strategies at the local level towards urban sanitation improvement. 
The course is composed of four modules:
  • Module 1: Introduction to Sanitation
  • Module 2: Economics, Pricing and Financing of the Sanitation Sector
  • Module 3: Institutional Aspects of the Sanitation Sector
  • Module 4: Sanitation and Poverty 

 Learning materials include the following elements:

  • Basicreading materials (compulsory) intended to understand the basic concepts and principles of modules’ subject-matter;
  • Advanced reading materials (optional) for participants willing to learn more about the topic; 
  • Introductory video intended to provide a general introduction to the course and topic 
  • External links to relevant, publications, reports and websites; 
  • Glossaries of terms and of acronyms as supportive learning tools. 
  • A community discussion board (forum) will allow participants to discuss topics initiated by the course moderator and to post questions, comments or new discussions.
The learning time is estimated to be about 5 hours per week. This includes study time (about 3 hours/week) and participation in collaborative activities (about 2 hours/week). Time dedicated to assessment activities is not taken into account in this estimation.
The assessment activities are organized as follows:
  • Self-assessment quizzes which enables participants to analyze their level of knowledge before and during the course, making them able to decide how to approach the learning materials and which parts to focus on. This exercise is not graded and can be taken as many times as desired.
  • 4 evaluation tests, corresponding to each one of the 4 course modules, aim at evaluating participants’ comprehension of the course content. The 4 tests altogether account for 40% of the final grade.
  • A case study where participants can apply their knowledge practically. The basis of the case study scenario takes as a basis the concrete situation participants’ municipality/region faces with regards to sanitation. The case study accounts for 40% of the final grade.
  • An innovative peer-to-peer review exercise providing an ideal breeding ground for knowledge and experience sharing. Participants evaluate and discuss each other’s case study in the framework of specific group forums. Ultimately, the moderator will provide comments and grade to each participant related to his/her review of another participant’s case study and subsequent discussions with fellow-participants. The peer-to-peer review accounts for 20% of the final grade.

Course Completion & Certification

Successful completion of the course requires participants to achieve a minimum total score of 70% and entitles to a certificate of completion. A certificate of participation will be issued to participants who took all the mandatory exercises but achieved a score inferior to 70%.


The course is open to decision-makers from local governments as well as representatives of service providers (national governments, private sector, NGOs) and international organizations involved in the sanitation sector worldwide. It is advisable to have prior basic knowledge of urban sanitation and/or urban environmental issues.  

Technical Requirements:
  • Hardware: 64 MB of RAM, 1 GB of free disk space;
  • MODEM: 56 K;
  • Platform: Windows 95 or later versions, Mac OS 9 or OSx;
  • A good internet connection is necessary
  • Browser: IE, Mozilla Firefox, etc.;
  • Software: Adobe Acrobat Reader. 

Download the flyer here

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