The SEI Initiative on Sustainable Sanitation (SISS)

2015 - 2019 • Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI)


To strengthen knowledge on how sanitation can contribute to the broader sustainable development agenda, and how sustainable sanitation provision can be achieved at scale


The Initiative envisions sanitation as an integral piece of the sustainable development puzzle, highlighting the multiple benefits it can provide in areas from health to food security, resilient livelihoods, business growth, renewable energy, and environmental sustainability. In the search for improved and upscalable implementation models, the Initiative examines not just “hardware” issues but includes enabling institutional conditions and governance frameworks, and ways to change users’ perceptions and practices as well as their demand for improved sanitation. This will be achieved through a combination of new research, knowledge management, capacity development, policy engagement, outreach and on-the-ground action.


Image: El Alto, Bolivia © Sarah Dickin -

Countries of activity

Location of main activity


The Initiative seeks to strengthen knowledge on how sanitation can contribute to the broader sustainable development agenda, and how sustainable sanitation provision can be achieved at scale in low- and middle-income countries.

Specific objectives:
To develop supportive planning and monitoring tools and models and practices for sanitation, based on analysis of policy and institutional frameworks, considering multi-level governance as a central mechanism in making sanitation sustainable.
To provide evidence of the broader potential sustainability benefits of productive sanitation (in areas as diverse as health, food security, renewable energy, water management, sustainable livelihoods, disaster risk and climate change resilience, gender equality, and environmental sustainability)
To develop and test new scalable community intervention models for sustainable sanitation provision.

Further information

Following an initial phase (2014-2016), SISS was extended for a second phase (2016-2018). 2019 will comprise a summary and synthesis year.

Filter tags

Capacity development Emergency and reconstruction Enabling environment and institutional strengthening Europe, Caucasus & Central Asia Faeces or faecal sludge Global Political processes and institutional aspects Rural areas Sub-Saharan Africa Swedish government University, education or research institution Urine WASH and nutrition

Attached files

Learn more about the sustainable sanitation initative

Format: pdf file
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Stockholm Environment Institute
Stockholm and Nairobi
Sweden and Kenya

SEI is an independent international research institute with offices in Sweden, the UK, Estonia, the US, Thailand and Kenya. We have been engaged in environment and development issues at local, national, regional and global policy levels for more than 25 years. Our goal is to support decision-making and induce change towards sustainable development around the world by providing integrative knowledge that bridges science and policy in the field of environment and development. Our approach is often highly collaborative, and stakeholder involvement has always been at the heart of SEI’s work. Our projects help to build capacity and strengthen institutions to equip our partners for the long-term. SEI was the home of the EcoSanRes Programme, a pioneer in the area of sustainable sanitation between 2001 and 2011. SEI was one of the co-founders of SuSanA in 2007. At present the Sustainable Sanitation Initiative at SEI is a combination of original research, knowledge management, capacity development, policy engagement and on-the-ground action.

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