What drives reform? Making sanitation a political priority in secondary cities

This report analyses the challenge of improving access to sanitation in rapidly growing and developing secondary cities. Urban sanitation problems, and reasons for solving them, have changed over time. There are many studies into different financing options, technical solutions, and institutional structures for urban sanitation services and this report does not aim to recommend which are best. Rather, this framework of considerations emphasises that sanitation has to become a political priority before the technical challenges can be overcome. Unpacking the blanket term ‘political incentives’, this report identifies different ways in which political leaders can become motivated to direct public resources at sanitation services, even in challenging contexts. Finding ways to strengthen political interest in sanitation is a critical first step before the details of government coordination, policy, financing, and city-scale planning can be tackled.