Additional responses to questions during the Q&A
Unfortunately, such was the number of participant questions it wasn't possible to answer them all during the event. So the speakers have supplied further written responses below.
Q: Why do we ignore the UN General Assembly Resolution that water and sanitation are a fundamental right? A: (Artwell Kadungure, TARSC) Even locally, our constitution guarantees the right to water, among other key determinants of health. Stakeholders in Zimbabwe have called for the water supply services to be state funded and available to all people regardless of where they live, work or income or other status, that is, universal access to water.
We indeed have adequate domestic laws that should guide and support the realisation of the right to water (eg 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe and the 2018 Public Health Act). In our case in Zimbabwe, the barriers to access are at various levels: for instance, the main water body that supplies Harare, the capital city, is heavily polluted requiring the use of many (expensive and imported) water treatment chemicals. Yet some of the treated water is lost through leakages (old infrastructure). Droughts further compound the problems.
Addressing this requires an all-stakeholder agreed long-term plan, with concrete and measurable milestones and state commitments through national budgets to fund new infrastructure for water (dams and reticulation networks), tackle drivers of pollution and environmental degradation (upgrade sewage treatment plants, monitor industrial pollution and its management) and increasing investments in downstream wastewater collection, treatment and use, including its recycling and use in areas that promote urban economic activity in the informal sectors like urban agriculture.
Further plans for climate smart options for balancing supply and demand, technology innovations in water harvesting and storage and managing leakages would help to ensure that the new system delivers its goals. These, and other required measures clearly requires all stakeholders to work together, led by central governments.
Q: Why create a mountain then a tunnel? Segregation of waste is the way out? At least in India MSW Rules 2000 mandates waste segregation at source. A: (Artwell Kadungure, TARSC) While waste segregation at source is part of Zimbabwe's Integrated Waste Management Plan (2014), its implementation has been weak, and some pilots have been done in high income residential suburbs and shopping areas.
Perhaps governments should look at creating and communicating incentives to foster the desired change in behaviour, and supporting the waste recycling value chains and enterprise development in informal sector groups who are already involved in some aspects of solid waste recycling.
Q: How can we ensure more integration of food and health in cities? A: (Artwell Kadungure, TARSC) Food and heath could be integrated within an agenda of promoting healthy urban cities for all. The measures should be holistic, for example, local authorities need to bring to the fore, the planning for healthy populations and promotion of healthy urban lifestyles in their masterplans.
These measures include therefore how local authorities will ensure and promote healthy diets (informal sector could play a role in this) and healthy urban food systems (provide infrastructure for the clean provision of urban street foods for example), link food to urban tourism (urban food festivals), support processing of urban nutritious locally grown foods to increase informal sector incomes through value addition etc).
Local authorities can better support urban agriculture through technical services and extension support for farmers etc. Thus, urban planners need to ensure that food systems work better for both the people and the environment in urban areas.
The primary healthcare approach (which forms the anchor of Zimbabwe's health system) provides a good mechanism for improving health and integrating it with other areas in urban areas (health integrated in all sectors including education, industry, agriculture, informal sector).
Q: Did the researchers find a strong need for risk communication and health literacy in their research? A: (Artwell Kadungure, TARSC) Yes, in Zimbabwe champions teams are working with communities and informal sector workers to widen awareness on risks and options to address them including in collaboration with local authorities.
At national level, Zimbabwe has the climate change learning and knowledge document as well as the climate change communication strategy, national health strategy and other key related policy documents which raise risk communication, awareness and literacy as priorities as well.
Q: What is the position of the state in both India and Zimbabwe regarding vulnerable informal workers such as waste pickers and street vendors? A: (Artwell Kadungure, TARSC) There is some state support for waste pickers in Zimbabwe. The local environment agency, the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), has facilitated some setting up of health clubs where organised groups of waste pickers are provided with some capacity building to enhance their business.
EMA has also done mapping of enterprises that recycle waste and attempts to link the waste pickers to private recycling companies. However, given the large share of informal sector waste pickers, many are left out from these initiatives.
Waste pickers see private waste recyclers as not sharing the profits equitably, they see as if they are being exploited and require some government regulation of the sector or better still, for the government to support them start up their recycling companies, or at least semi-process the solid waste.