Coronavirus global health emergency

This page brings together water and sanitation-related information from UN-Water Members and Partners in the light of the coronavirus global emergency. UN-Water is working to ensure the most up-to-date information, resources and guidance as they become available.

UN-Water Joint Statement: 31st Special Session of the General Assembly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic


UN-Water Members

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

  • BRIEF: Technical brief on water, sanitation, hygiene and wastewater management to prevent infections and reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance
  • BRIEF: The dual threat of extreme weather and the COVID-19 crisis: Anticipating the impacts on food availability
  • ARTICLE: Thinking the unthinkable: harnessing the pandemic to Improve SDG 6 capacity development
  • DISCUSSION PAPER: SMART IRRIGATION – SMART WASH Solutions in response to the pandemic crisis in Africa

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

  • ARTICLE: Building up family farmers’ resilience through nature-based solutions in Latin America and the Caribbean

International Labour Organization (ILO)

  • PUBLICATION: Safety and health at work 2020 – stop the pandemic: safety and health at work can save lives
  • BLOG: Hand washing at work – the key to staying safe
  • STORY: Clean water for life and livelihoods amid pandemic
  • POLICY BRIEF: Hand hygiene at the workplace: an essential occupational safety and health prevention and control measure against COVID-19
  • STORY: Safe water, decent work in BARMM amid COVID-19

International Organization for Migration (IOM)

  • VIDEO: Addressing COVID-19 in Ethiopia through clean water and good hygiene
  • NEWSLETTER: Special edition newsletter on fighting COVID-19 with water and sanitation
  • STORY: Supplying clean water to Yemen’s largest displacement camp
  • POLICY BRIEF: UN Network on Migration: Enhancing access to services for migrants in the context of COVID-19 preparedness, prevention, and response and beyond

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

  • ARTICLE: Everything you need to know about washing your hands to protect against COVID-19
  • PRESS RELEASE: Handwashing with soap, critical in the fight against coronavirus, is ‘out of reach’ for billions
  • TECHNICAL NOTE: WASH Programme contribution to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) prevention and response
  • GUIDANCE NOTE: Understanding hygiene promotion in the context of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak
  • TECHNICAL NOTE: Monitoring and mitigating the secondary impacts of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on WASH services availability and access
  • ARTICLE: Protecting the most vulnerable children from the impact of coronavirus: an agenda for action
  • ARTICLE: Rohingya children fight back against COVID-19, one pair of hands at a time
  • PRESS RELEASE: Over 5 million children face threat of cholera and acute water diarrhea in the midst of COVID-19 as Yemen gets heavy rains
  • BRIEF: Mitigating the impacts of COVID-19 on menstrual health and hygiene
  • WEBINAR: Period pivots: Exploring changing business models within Menstrual Health & Hygiene (MHH), 18 May
  • PRESS RELEASE: UN Humanitarian flight arrives in Venezuela with nutrition, water, hygiene and sanitation supplies
  • ARTICLE: A wake-up call: COVID-19 and its impact on children’s health and wellbeing
  • UNICEF/WHO REPORT: Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene in schools report – special focus on COVID-19
  • UNICEF/WHO REPORT: State of the world’s sanitation. An urgent call to transform sanitation for better health, environments, economies and societies

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

  • STRATEGY: Supporting the Global Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Land-based Solutions for
    Healthy People and a Healthy Planet

United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA)

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

  • ARTICLE: Dovetailing disasters: how COVID-19 is compounding risk for Cambodian communities
  • ARTICLE: How to soften the impact of coronavirus during conflict
  • BLOG: For a lack of soap and clean water, disease flourishes
  • ARTICLE: For planet, for people: UNDP-supported ecosystem-based adaptation project in Lao PDR moves forward with the backing of the Global Environment Facility
  • ARTICLE: Continuing vital health services in Guinea-Bissau during COVID-19

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)

  • RESOURCES: COVID-19: the role of the Water Convention and the Protocol on Water and Health

United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA)

  • POLICY BRIEF: The Impact of COVID-19 on the Arab Region An Opportunity to Build Back Better

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

  • STORY: Albania: how a lagoon became a frontline defence against climate change
  • STORY: UNEP helps countries monitor sustainable development progress on water, despite COVID-19 challenges
  • STORY: How monitoring sewage could prevent a return of the coronavirus

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

  • ARTICLE: Green economies, a bulwark against COVID 19 for Lake Chad communities

United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)

  • ARTICLE: As Bangladesh battles COVID-19 and the aftermath of Super Cyclone Amphan, women’s organizations lead their communities through recovery

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

  • Technical WASH guidance for COVID-19 preparedness and response in refugee settings
  • WASH and energy checklist for health facilities in refugee camps/settlements
  • Key UNHCR activities for COVID-19 Preparedness and Response
  • PRESS RELEASE: As COVID-19 pandemic continues, forcibly displaced children need more support than ever
  • ARTICLE: COVID-19: UNHCR warns of severe implications for annual monsoon response in Bangladesh
  • ARTICLE: Space, shelter and scarce resources – coping with COVID-19

United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR)

  • NEWS RELEASE: COVID-19: Do not forget internally displaced persons, UN expert urges Governments worldwide
  • NEWS: COVID-19 will not be stopped without providing safe water to people living in vulnerability – UN experts
  • ARTICLE: Kenya’s informal settlements need safe water to survive COVID-19

United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)

  • STORY: What water and sanitation operators can do in the fight against COVID-19
  • STORY: Water for handwashing in slums is critical to prevent COVID-19 spreading
  • VIDEO: from one of Nairobi’s informal settlements on handwashing support
  • STORY: Youth in Nairobi slum use murals to educate the community about COVID-19
  • TECHNICAL NOTE: Interim technical note on water, sanitation and hygiene for COVID-19 response in slums and informal urban settlements
  • OUTCOME BRIEF: Webinar ‘crisis management: strategy, assessment and decision-making’

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR)

United Nations University (UNU)

World Bank Group

  • BLOG POST: Handwashing with soap – a life-saving act
  • BLOG POST: Latin America moving fast to ensure water services during COVID-19
  • DOCUMENT: Water, sanitation, and hygiene. The first line of defense in the battle against COVID-19
  • BLOG POST: On inflation and water tariffs: what are the trends?
  • BLOG POST: Natural disasters and vulnerable groups: Insights for an inclusive and sustainable recovery from COVID-19
  • BLOG POST: Let’s talk about disaster risk during COVID-19
  • BLOG POST: Leveraging Sudan’s natural resources against COVID-19 and locust swarms
  • BLOG POST: Examining the pandemic’s impact on the irrigation and drainage sector and opportunities for recovery

World Food Programme (WFP)

  • ARTICLE: A vaccine may come for coronavirus — but there isn’t one for climate change
  • BLOG: Why sustainable food systems are needed in a post-COVID world

World Health Organization (WHO)

  • TECHNICAL BRIEF (WHO/UNICEF): Water, sanitation, hygiene and waste management for COVID-19
  • DOCUMENT: Strengthening preparedness for COVID-19 in cities and urban settings
  • OPEN WHO: free, open-access learning platform for health emergencies, with 10 online courses related to COVID-19
  • WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY MEETING: Meeting the challenge of COVID-19: achieving sustainable WASH-safe health care facilities in the 2020s, 21 May
  • STORY: WHO manifesto for a healthy recovery from COVID-19
  • DOCUMENT: Cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces in the context of COVID-19: interim guidance
  • DOCUMENT: Water, sanitation, hygiene, and waste management for the COVID-19 virus: interim guidance
  • DOCUMENT: Recommendations to Member States to improve hand hygiene practices to help prevent the transmission of the COVID-19 virus: interim guidance
  • BRIEF: Technical brief on water, sanitation, hygiene and wastewater management to prevent infections and reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance
  • HIGHLIGHT: Hygiene: UN-Water GLAAS findings on national policies, plans, targets and finance
  • UNICEF/WHO REPORT: Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene in schools report – special focus on COVID-19
  • SCIENTIFIC BRIEF: Status of environmental surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 virus
  • GUIDANCE: Water, sanitation, hygiene, and waste management for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19
  • UNICEF/WHO REPORT: State of the world’s sanitation. An urgent call to transform sanitation for better health, environments, economies and societies
  • UNICEF/WHO REPORT: The measurement and monitoring of water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) affordability: a missing element of monitoring of sustainable development goal (SDG) targets 6.1 and 6.2

World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

  • ARTICLE: Economic slowdown as a result of COVID is no substitute for climate action
  • ARTICLE: Tropical cyclone Harold challenges disaster and public health management

UN-Water Partners with Special Status

Sanitation and Water for All (SWA)

  • WEBINAR: Making WASH a political and financial priority in times of COVID-19
  • Information on SWA webinar series on COVID-19 and WASH
  • DOCUMENTS: Key documents and resources on COVID-19 and WASH (resources available in English, French and Spanish)
  • CALL TO ACTION: World leaders’ call to action on COVID-19
  • STATEMENT: Water, sanitation and hygiene: world leaders call for action on COVID-19

UN Global Compact | CEO Water Mandate

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation

  • VIDEO: COVID19 and adequate sanitation (available in French, English and Spanish)
  • Statement by the Special Rapporteur on human rights to water and sanitation 

UN-Water Partners

Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST)

  • TECHNICAL BRIEF: COVID-19 Summary for Sanitation Professionals

Global Water Partnership (GWP)

  • Scaling up commitment to meet planetary crises
  • Call from Global Water Partnership West Africa (GWP-WA) for the fight against the pandemic
  • Call for higher ambition of adaption and inclusion of climate resilient water security in COVID-19 economic recovery plans

International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research (IAHR)

IHE Delft

  • OPINION: The coronavirus pandemic will impact global security


  • ARTICLE: Strengthening water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) systems
  • ARTICLE: How to avoid a 20-year setback in the water and sanitation sector
  • ARTICLE: How civil society is adapting WASH advocacy to COVID-19
  • BLOG: Hygiene promotion should be a long-term effort

International Water Association (IWA)

  • ARTICLE: COVID-19 and ‘chasing for water’ – water access in poor urban spaces
  • ONLINE DIALOGUE: COVID-19: a water professional’s perspective

International Water Management Institute (IWMI)

  • ARTICLE: COVID-19 is a deadly reminder that inclusive water supply and sanitation matters for all of us
  • INTERVIEW: Fears over handwashing in Africa to stem coronavirus seen as trigger for change
  • OPINION: Coronavirus – wake-up call to ensure water and sanitation for all
  • ARTICLE: Why nations must prepare for natural disasters amid the current Covid-19 pandemic
  • ARTICLE: When climate and Covid-19 collide: Ten steps to prepare South Asia

Pacific Institute

  • OP-ED: Hand-washing is critical in the fight against coronavirus, but what if you don’t have safe water?
  • Water and COVID-19: Risks and Opportunities
  • BLOG POST: When California utilities shut off water for the poor, we are all at risk
  • BLOG POST: Want to help fight COVID-19? List your organization’s work on the water action hub.
  • FACT SHEET: Water and the pandemic: reopening buildings after shutdowns: reducing water-related health risks
  • ISSUE BRIEF: Water and the COVID-19 pandemic: ensuring access to water as shutoff moratoriums lift
  • ISSUE BRIEF: Water and the COVID-19 pandemic: equity dimensions of utility disconnections in the U.S.
  • ISSUE BRIEF: Water and the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Business Framework for Water & COVID-19: Practical Actions to Contain the Pandemic

Stockholm international Water Institute (SIWI)

  • NEWS: You can’t wash your hands without water – how governments are responding to COVID-19
  • BLOG POST: Don’t forget the security aspect of the COVID-19 crisis
  • POLICY BRIEF: The key role of water, sanitation and hygiene promotion in the response to COVID-19 in Brazil


  • ARTICLE: Frequent handwashing with soap is one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • BLOG: How can we ensure everyone can wash their hands with soap and water, to protect lives from COVID-19?
  • BLOG: Putting equality, inclusion and rights at the centre of a COVID-19 water, sanitation and hygiene response
  • ARTICLE: Good hygiene saves lives – that’s why we’ve spent 37 years fighting for everyone to be able to practise it. Will you help us respond to the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • VIDEO: Why is handwashing so important to stop coronavirus?
  • VIDEO: How to wash your hands | the WaterAid guide to handwashing

Women for Water Partnership (WfWP)

World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)

World Resources Institute

  • ARTICLE: Tackling inequality in cities is essential for fighting COVID-19
  • ARTICLE: South Asia confronts a double disaster: cyclone and COVID-19

World Water Council

  • NEWS ARTICLE: World Water Council provides Marseille soap to Senegalese state and City of Dakar

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