Panel discussions and specialse


Date: Tuesday 3rd July 2018

Time: 16:15-17:30

Room: Juying Ballroom


Organizers: Environment and Population Research Centre (EPRC), Bangladesh, KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden), KWR Water Cycle Research Institute (The Netherlands), University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) and Ardhi University (ARU) Tanzania, CNEA (Argentina) & Unicef (Bangladesh)

Panelists: tbd


The preamble of the Sustainabe Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) is based on the fact that the access to safe water and sanitation together with efficient management of freshwater ecosystems are essential for human health and to environmental sustainability and economic prosperity. Among the specific targets of SDG 6, Target 6.1 is most challenging that concerns achieving universal and equitable access to safe drinking water for all by 2030.

Specifically mitigation of arsenic contaminated drinking water is a complex challenge which involves involvement of a broad spectrum of stakeholders, from policy makers, regulators, facilitators, implementers, to social groups and end users of water. The selection of suitable technologies and the ways they are implemented, have significant impact on the results of the mitigation. In practice, it is important to involve stakeholders from the entire range of the spectrum and at all stages in the process to ensure that the implemented technological solutions are preferred by the end users.

Removal of arsenic from water is a challenging task and requires a thorough knowledge about the raw water quality. The treatment method needs to be improvised considering the water quality prevailing in different regions. The choice of the methods and the scale also varies depending on the in different locations that in urban settings vis a vis the rural settings depending on the target population and socio-economic conditions. In recent years, source substitution has emerged as an important option and should be prioritized and adopted wherever appropriate. However, in areas where source substitution is not a feasible alternative, removal of arsenic becomes inevitable. Thus decision makers should recognize and thoroughly evaluate the impact of replacing or adapting to  treatment practices or adding new treatment technologies for achieving the target arsenic removal.

Key questions that the panel will address are:
1) The aqueous chemistry of arsenic as a governing factor for designing the arsenic removal treatment trains
2) What are the established arsenic removal technologies and where the future of arsenic removal is seen by the panelists
3) Discussion on multifaceted technical, economic and social factors determining the sustainability of the technological solutions.
4) How far have we been able to develop and adapt to technologies for arsenic removal based on low-cost materials on a local scale?
5) How does the handling and disposal of treatment residuals be improved from a resource recovery and reuse perspective?
6) Can we bring in a concept of circular economy while discussing arsenic treatment residues?
7) How far the technologies for the provision of provide safe water are accessible, environmentally friendly and adapted to the cultural practices and rules of the population.

8) What are the indicators with respect to the existing conditions in selected countries such as Bangladesh, Tanzania, China and others and can we develop a common base for recommendations for scaling?


Date: Tuesday 4th July 2018

Time: 16:15-17:15

Room: Juying Ballroom in Friendship Palace


Organizers: Government of Bangladesh, Unicef, KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Panelists: tbd

Although Bangladesh has made progress towards achieving its goal of access to improved water supply, significant challenges remain in terms of quality and sustainability of the drinking water sources. About 65% of the population lack access to drinking water that is arsenic safe and free from microbial contamination. The challenges are both geogenic and man-made. Naturally occurring arsenic, the environmental vulnerability of Bangladesh, inadequate prioritization of arsenic prone areas, high dependence on unskilled local drillers, and absence of harmonized sector wide approaches to arsenic mitigation and drinking water safety.  The Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Development Plan (2011 -2025) identifies the inability to  scale up successful individual projects as the root challenge to achieving universal drinking water safety in Bangladesh. Bangladesh under the auspices of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and Cooperatives and its lead agencies are supporting an integrated approach between strengthening the enabling environment and sustainable service delivery to facilitate the required harmonization and scaling up.

This panel will discuss the strategies and steps the Government of Bangladesh has taken to address its drinking water safety challenges under the auspices of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (DPHE and Policy Support Branch) in partnership with development partners, research institutions, non-governmental organization and the private sector.   These strategies include strengthened sector coordination, operational research and development, harmonized common approach to sector coordination,, drinking water safety planning and increased investment in arsenic prone areas.

Key questions that the panel will try to address include:
(1) What potential impact does strengthening sector coordination and reactivating sectoral thematic groups have on strengthening systems and scaling up drinking water safety

(2) Does the DPHE-UNICEF Arsenic Safe Union Approach address the key challenges of elite capture, poor prioritization of arsenic prone areas, safety and sustainability of water sources?
(3)  How can the Government of Bangladesh implement a sector wide approach to planning and intervening in arsenic prone areas?

(4) How can government and the private sector complement each other more effectively in the provision of safe drinking water across the country?

(5) How can the lessons learnt from Bangladesh be disseminated for replication in other countries?