With the financial contribution of the Italian Cooperation
“Water Research and the Improvement of Water Sanitation and Hygiene Services for the Poor”
May – June 2006
CERFE, a non profit research institute based in Rome, in collaboration with the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council - WSSCC, and the funding of the Italian Cooperation, launched this e-conference, aiming at involving the community of those working in promoting water, sanitation and hygiene for the urban poor, and that of those who are fostering the production of new scientific and technological knowledge on water processes and uses.

The purpose of the e-conference is to understand how scientific and technological research can contribute in a greater measure to the improvement of Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene and to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals regarding the access to water.

Considering the many new challenges arising and the global trends towards a reduction of resources for supporting development processes, there is an urgent need for new ways to analyse and solve water problems.


Dealing with these challenges, the conference will focus on the following questions:

• What contribution are the participants’ organisations making to the development of scientific and technological research on water, sanitation and hygiene? In the case of scientific institutions, what are the themes that are being tackled?

• How do participants judge the current state of advancement of scientific and technological research on water –performed by themselves, or by other institutions they know?

• Do participants deem the communication activities performed by water research entities – their own or the other ones they know – sufficient and adequate? If not, why? How could it be improved?

• How do participants judge the current level of collaboration of water research entities with other private, governmental or university research institutions, with government bodies, with business companies, with NGOs, with UN organizations, etc.? Why? How could it be improved?

• How do participants see the future of scientific and technological research on water? In particular, what are the most promising research strands and directions for the resolution of the world’s population water access problems?

• In the participants’ view, to what extent are current problems of access to water to be attributed to the scarcity of water resources and/or to the limited capacity of making drinkable water from groundwater or surface water, and to what extent are they instead due to institutional and political conflicts and problems in the distribution and management of water resources? What are the consequences for the scientific and technological research agenda, and how far are scientific findings and technological solutions in strict sense still important to improve access to water (vis à vis the management and governance arrangements that are currently receiving increasing international attention)?


The e-conference will be a non-moderated one, and it will function as a mailing list, open only to the subscribers. The conference coordinators, Gianfrancesco Costantini and Alessandra Cancedda, will ensure the relevance of participants for conference purposes.

Participation will be primarily based on the sending of postings on the topics suggested by the background paper or arising during the discussion.

However, it will be be possible to send:

- papers focusing on the conference themes;
- documents and links relevant to conference themes (i.e. research reports, case studies, websites, etc.);

Papers and documents may also be sent to the conference coordinators, before the starting of the e-conference at sup@cerfe.org, so as to be posted on the web page.

To subscribe the e-conference it is requested to send to sup@cerfe.org a short CV or biographical note (name and surname, professional activity and affiliation, city and country, e-mail address)

»  Go to discussion

»  Background paper

»  Other documents and relevant links