ADB, Gates Foundation to improve urban services
MANILA, Philippines: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Bill
and Melinda Gates Foundation are bringing together the governments of
Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka to create a South Asia Urban
Knowledge to help improve urban services, such as sanitation, in South
The hub, one of three initiatives funded by the Sanitation Financing
Partnership Trust Fund, was set up by the ADB and the Gates Foundation
in late 2013, to bring managers, policy makers, and public and private
sector experts together to discuss issues and solutions.
Sanitation is a pressing issue in the region and a target likely to
be missed by the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals next
"We will continue to work with the governments in the Asia-Pacific
region to make countries open-defecation free and complement their
efforts by providing options for small-scale sanitation systems in urban
and rural communities," said Director of the Urban Development and Water
Division in ADB's Southeast Asia Department, Amy Leung.
About 1.7 billion people in Asia and the Pacific still lack access to
improved sanitation, 780 million people still practise open defecation,
and around 80% of waste water is discharged without treatment.
The ADB and the Gates Foundation have also set aside $2 million from
the trust fund to top-up ADB's Facility for Pilot and Demonstration
Activities that provides $50,000 grants to test innovative non-networked
sanitation and septage management policies, technologies, and business
models that can be scaled-up across the Asia-Pacific region.
In addition, the partnership will provide a $1.6 million grant to
pilot innovations in sanitation and septage management in Bangladesh as
part of a planned ADB loan for coastal towns infrastructure improvement.
ADB is leveraging a $15 million contribution from the Gates
Foundation to finance more than $28 million in non-sewered sanitation
and septage management projects across the region in the next five
"Open defecation and inadequate toilets, sewers, and waste water
treatment systems lead to massive amounts of untreated human waste in
the environment, harming the health and well-being of children," said
Director of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene team at the Bill and
Melinda Gates Foundation, Brian Arbogast.
"We are delighted to have new partners such as the ADB applying
creative thinking to more effectively managing human waste to improve
people's lives," he said.