Monday, 26 July 2010

AU Summit lobbied to deliver on commitments

Zawedde, in Kampala, Uganda, sits in front of crosses symbolising the 2000 children that die from diarrhoea in Africa every day. Photo credit: WaterAid/Benedicte Desru

World leaders are gathering to talk again, with the 15th Ordinary Session of the African Union taking place in Uganda for the past week.

The Summit has been focusing down on two particular MDGs – child health and maternal mortality – two areas of development that have been woefully lagging behind others. And civil society has been present to pressure for action, not just words.

WaterAid and the African Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW) have been lobbying at the Summit, to highlight the devastating impact poor water and sanitation has on infant health, and pushing for former commitments made in Sharm el Sheik and eThekwini to be met.

The situation, after all, is dire and urgent. Diarrhoea is now the biggest killer of children under five on the African continent. A staggering 90% of these deaths could be prevented by access to safe sanitation, water and hygiene.

World leaders must also recognize the interconnected nature of tackling the MDGs. And even if the water and sanitation MDG sector is the most off-track, it needs to be approached in a holistic way alongside other lagging sectors. (Read our policy briefing on this).

Decisions made by Heads of State at the AU Summit will have significant influence on the outcomes of the discussions held during the MDG+10 Summit later in September 2010.

Staff at WaterAid are blogging from the Summit - click here to see the latest pictures and read updates.

You can also download WaterAid’s two page AU Summit document here.

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