Monday, March 25, 2013

Post 2015: A goal for water, sanitation and hygiene - WSA

Destina Samani - Ghana Resident Representative - WSA
Source: WSA

Africa must seize the opportunity of World Water Day, which is celebrated annually on 22nd March and the period up to the next UN General Assembly in September 2013, to call for a goal on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) as the world prepares for another development agenda after the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expire in 2015.

According to the Director of Policy, Partnerships and Communications at Water and Sanitation for Africa (WSA), Peter Ryan, “No country can achieve real development without first developing adequate infrastructure and services for safe drinking water and improved sanitation because this represent the health of every country.”

He indicates that not a single development goal can be adequately achieved without water and sanitation. “Another global development agenda without a goal on WASH would therefore mean that we did not learn our lessons.”

Available global statistics from WHO and UNICEF indicates that Africa has the poorest access to drinking water and sanitation:

As global access to water is 89%, Sub-Saharan Africa is 63%, representing more than half of the global population without access;

About 70% of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa lacks access to basic sanitation facilities and as a result, about 250 million people resort to open defecation;

The UNDP estimates that at any given time, nearly half the people in the developing world are suffering from one or more of the main diseases associated with dirty water and inadequate sanitation.

Considering that the MDGs did not have a goal on WASH, Africa needs to lobby for a global vision of “Water, sanitation and hygiene for all, forever, together, by 2030” in the next development agenda after the MDGs, considering the fact that water and sanitation is key building block for education, health, child and maternal mortality, gender equality, and economic growth. Above all water and sanitation is a fundamental human right.

To achieve this vision in Africa, however, the continent needs to explore more innovative funding sources for WASH through cooperation with the private sector and with other southern countries.

A WSA “Urban Sanitation Pricing Benchmarking study” in six African countries in 2011 “Reveals massive opportunities for such collaboration and the institution believes that such cooperation for technical and financial support for WASH can help the sector in Africa develop faster.”

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