The global COVID-19 pandemic has emphasised the critical need for WASH to prevent and mitigate infectious diseases. The timing of the pandemic caused the Water and WASH Futures Conference to be postponed to 2022 to ensure participation of international delegates, however, it has also raised opportunities for additional knowledge-sharing and learning activities. During 2020-2022 many countries will grapple with COVID-19 and seek to improve their WASH services and outcomes in order to mitigate the impacts. The Water and WASH Futures Conference Hosts and Committee decided to build on the strength of the Water and WASH Futures community by planning two additional virtual symposiums in the lead-up to the conference.
The first event – the WASH & The COVID-19 Pandemic Virtual Symposium, 21-22 April 2021, will include panel discussions and workshops and will be held in a virtual events platform, accessible worldwide. A second virtual symposium will follow later in 2021, in the lead-up to the Water and WASH Futures in-person conference in February 2023.