Geneva: Access to a regular supply of safe water is a top priority of the 24th Global Wash Cluster - Key leaders of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector massively respond to the Global WASH Cluster's invitation.

from Government of Switzerland, UN Children's Fund, WASH Cluster
Published on 12 Jun 2019

From 17 to 20 June, the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene cluster (WASH), under the leadership of UNICEF, is organizing their largest mobilization of global humanitarian agencies since the cluster was created in 2006.

This international congress aims to find quick and concrete answers to the current crisis in the WASH sector. Populations in humanitarian emergencies cannot survive without the expertise and vital interventions on the ground. For example, children who live in the midst of long-term conflicts are three times more likely to die from water-related diseases than from violence*. However, according to several humanitarian studies, such as Doctors without Borders (MSF), in many humanitarian emergencies, the WASH response could be much more appropriate and efficient.

Determined to move forward on this issue, and in partnership with the Swiss Humanitarian Aid, the Global WASH Cluster has succeeded in mobilizing more than 150 participants, representing NGOs (Oxfam, Doctors without Borders), UN agencies, international organizations (ICRC), donors, foundations involved in promoting the right of access to water and public health, as well as directors of humanitarian emergency departments representing the majority of the WASH sector.

Support from Swiss Humanitarian Aid

The conference must meet two critical objectives: To share and analyze the major challenges faced by the WASH sector, including the effects of global warming, as well as the world population explosion, a lack of funding and an increased security risks during the interventions. These findings have been identified by an independent-multisectoral team (URD) through field research and desks studies. The second goal is to have the Directors of Humanitarian Emergencies ratify the recommendations and responses proposed by WASH group to overcome those challenges.

Given the importance of the issue (improving access to clean and safe water and access to sanitation in humanitarian crisis) and their extensive experience in managing water and infrastructure worldwide, the Swiss Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid is particularly committed to making this 24th GWC meeting a milestone in the sector's ability to meet the basic needs of victims. Mr Manuel Bessler, Head of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit, will personally support the Emergency Directors by opening the last day of this congress, which will bring together some world's leading experts on water issues in humanitarian contexts.


Isabelle Alexandrine Bourgeois
Press Officer
+4179 286 18 82

For the Global Wash Cluster :
Dominique Porteaud, Coordinator
phone: + 41 22 909 5625
mobile:+ 41 79 139 76 62
email :

For the Swiss Humanitarian Aid :
Marc-André Bünzli,
Head Expert Group Water, Sanitation and Hygiene WASH,
Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA)
Phone: +41 58 465 12 41

For Unicef :
*Project Water Under Fire
Philippa Lysaght