Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Sanitation and Water for All: How far have we come?

Steve Cockburn

International Campaign Coordinator
End Water Poverty

For the last two years we’ve been campaigning for the establishment of a global platform to bring political will, coordination and accountability to the water and sanitation sector. Thanks to everyone’s hard work, we’re getting there.

23rd April 2010 will see the first ever High-Level Meeting on Sanitation and Water take place with ministers and top officials in Washington DC, as part of an initiative we called for - ‘Sanitation and Water for All: A Global Framework for Action’.

We’ve been campaigning to make this happen since our launch in March 2007, and been working to increase the level of ambition of breadth of participation since the idea was first accepted by the Governments of UK and Netherlands at the UN is September 2008.

We’ve come a very long way from an initiative supported by only 2 countries and a handful of other agencies. Around 10 donor countries and 15-20 developing countries are now behind the initiative, as well as all the major UN bodies. There is certainly momentum, so now the challenge is making it deliver tangible outcomes to support national sanitation and water plans.

So advocacy over the next two months could not be more important. If you’re from a donor country your officials will be having a meeting with other donors to discuss their approach on 10th March, so get lobbying. If you’re from a developing country whose government is taking part this year, there will be national level processes ongoing – get in touch with stevecockburn@endwaterpoverty.org to find out how your network can get involved.

We know what we want (see our international manifesto), and over 100 organisations have signed up to support this so far. And to help you achieve it we have a short advocacy guide outlining 5 things you can do, and resources to help you.

Already people are making a strong start, with meetings organized and campaigns planned. For examples, see a letter from the SWAN Canada coalition to their minister, a policy position from the US coalition Interaction, a report from country level meetings in Nepal and Bangladesh, and a media event in Ghana. Add to that the 47 countries now taking part in the World’s Longest Toilet Queue the global campaign is taking shape. Can you play your part?

For more information on Sanitation and Water for All: A Global Framework for Action, see www.endwaterpoverty.org/sanitationandwaterforall.

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