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The GWC website is currently undergoing maintenance and we are working towards an improved version of the web platform. Please bear with us during these times and do not hesitate to send us an email to: for any inquiries regarding the website and its content. Thank you for your understanding.

In 2005, the Humanitarian Reform Agenda reviewed the effectiveness of emergency response in order to enhance predictability, accountability and partnership. The cluster approach was one of the elements introduced by this reform, with a clear mandate for improving coordination in emergencies.

The Global WASH Cluster (GWC) was formed in 2006, building upon the successes of an existing Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) humanitarian sector working group. The GWC is an open and formal platform for humanitarian WASH actors to work together in partnership. The forum now consists of 32 full-members, comprising International Organisations, United Nations agencies and International Non-Governmental Organisations. Civil Contingency/response agencies, academic institutes and donors also play an active role.

The primary purpose of the cluster is the delivery of water, sanitation and hygiene promotion assistance to affected populations during emergencies through improved coordination of the response at all levels:

  • At the global level, the aim of the cluster approach is to strengthen system-wide preparedness and technical capacity to respond to humanitarian emergencies by ensuring that there is predictable leadership and accountability in the WASH sector.
  • At the country level the aim is to strengthen humanitarian response by demanding high standards of predictability, accountability and partnership. It is about achieving more strategic responses and better prioritization of available resources by clarifying the division of labour among organizations, better defining the roles and responsibilities of humanitarian organizations within the sectors, and providing the Humanitarian Coordinator with both a first point of call and a provider of last resort in all the key sectors or areas of activity.

UNICEF was nominated as the lead agency (see operational guidance on cluster approach – 2006) for the Global WASH cluster on the basis of its global network of operations, partners, resources and its recognized role in the field of emergency water and sanitation interventions. Learn more about the Global WASH Cluster partnership in the Who We Are section.

The Global WASH Cluster Website is currently in a beta testing phase, during this time we would welcome your feedback.  Please send an email to to leave feedback or report bugs.


Website Photo Credits:
Homepage: © UNICEF/INDA2013-00054/Vishwanathan
Other: © UNICEF/NYHQ2012-0042/Asselin
© UNICEF/ZIMA2011-00001/Pirozzi
© UNICEF/NYHQ2012-1516/Alcock
© UNICEF/UKLA2012-00946/Schermbrucker
© UNICEF/NYHQ2012-1518/Alcock
© UNICEF/INDA2012-00056/Vishwanathan

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