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Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Emergency Coordination and the WASH Cluster Initiative

© UNICEF/HQ06-1850/Josh Estey
A worker clears debris from an earthquake-damaged well in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

UNICEF is the global lead agency for the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector under The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) cluster approach. Launched in 2005, the cluster approach aims to address gaps in response and enhance the quality of humanitarian assistance by strengthening partnerships and coordination between UN agencies, the Red Cross/Crescent movement, international organizations and NGOs.

In emergencies where the Cluster approach is applied, UNICEF is requested to lead national coordination efforts. When employed, the cluster approach successfully enhanced coordination and emergency response and ultimately linked sectoral partners in expanded partnerships for non-emergency programme collaboration.

At the global level, UNICEF hosts the WASH Cluster support team based in New York and Geneva. UNICEF also has overall responsibility for the implementation of the three-year workplan for the development of the WASH cluster in five strategic areas:

1 Effective WASH Sector Coordination
2 Effective and Efficient Information Management and Standards for WASH Humanitarian Response
3 Increasing WASH Sector Capacity for Humanitarian Response
4 WASH Sector Preparedness and Response
5 WASH Sector Best Practice and Learning



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