New initiative to support business action towards Sustainable Development Goals on universal access to water and sanitation introduced on the occasion of World Water Day

New York, 22 March 2016 – Today, World Water Day 2016, 11 leading organizations introduced a new initiative called WASH4Work, aimed at mobilizing greater business action to address water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) challenges in the workplace, communities where workers live, and across supply chains.

WASH4Work brings stakeholders together to coordinate, collaborate, align and amplify efforts to encourage and support business action on WASH and support governments and the public to enable that business action.

With the launch of the SDGs, world leaders have publicly acknowledged that water and sanitation are essential for eradicating poverty, and fundamental to sustainable development everywhere. WASH4Work partners recognize that in order for universal access to WASH to be achieved, business needs to be galvanised to address safe access to WASH in the workplace, communities where workers live, and across supply chains.

WASH4Work partners will support business, governments and the public by working to gather evidence and create solutions, advocate at national and global level, and enable and monitor business action, with a view of mobilizing business skills, finance and other resources; encouraging governments to enable and support the business contribution on WASH; and supporting voices from citizens, workers and consumers.

To mark the theme of this year’s UN-Water World Water Day, Water and jobs, WASH4Work will be introduced at a high-level discussion at the United Nations headquarters on the private sector and WASH hosted by the Permanent Mission of Sweden, with remarks from the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, Swedish State Secretary for Foreign Affairs H.E. Annika Söder, and panellists from business, international organisations and civil society.

WASH4Work was established as a recognition of the need to consolidate and scale-up existing private sector & WASH related initiatives under an umbrella movement to make a meaningful contribution to SDG6 while also generating business value. That recognition followed recommendations by the ODI Report “Private sector and water supply, sanitation and hygiene.” Published in October 2015, the report was commissioned by UNICEF and the UN Foundation following UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson’s Call to Action on Sanitation in 2014.

This report recommends the consolidation and extension of existing private sector WASH engagement initiatives under an umbrella movement with the objectives of “enabling all businesses to make a meaningful contribution to SDG6, in a way that generates business value.” Current WASH4Work partners include: Global Poverty Project, International Labor Organization, UN Foundation, UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate, UNICEF, Unilever, USAID, Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, WaterAid, and World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

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For any questions, please contact: Jonathan Rich, Consultant, United Nations Foundation at