A Literature Review Evaluating New Approaches to Resolving the Sanitation Challenge in Developing Asia

Publication | July 2019

Better access to sanitation and wastewater management can provide an array of socioeconomic benefits.

Evidence shows that there are numerous socioeconomic and environmental benefits from improved sanitation; conversely, numerous studies have explored the lack of access to basic sanitation and its negative impact on gross domestic product (GDP). We establish the positive impacts on GDP from investment in sanitation and emphasize how it can regenerate countries. We combine and analyze supporting evidence through an extensive literature review to show that a new way of thinking informed by a comprehensive understanding of historical issues must be adopted to address the sanitation challenge. We emphasize decentralization, technological standardization, innovative financing, cost-recovery mechanisms, and the potential of socioeconomic spillover effects as tools to revitalize the sanitation sector. We further elaborate on the significance of hybrid governance and institutional mechanisms, including state and non-state actors, to collectively contribute toward achieving total sanitation coverage in developing Asian countries. We share the message that the benefits of wastewater management are far-reaching and convey the importance of decision makers prioritizing this sector. We conclude that achieving replicability and scalability requires dedicated political will and visionary leadership.


Additional Details

  • Economics
  • Environment
  • Governance and public sector management
  • Cambodia
  • China, People's Republic of
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Korea, Republic of
  • Malaysia
  • Philippines
  • Thailand
  • Viet Nam