Inna Guenda and Prince Kreplah are water and sanitation campaigners from Burkina Faso and Liberia. They are in New York this week at an important preparatory meeting of participants of the Fourth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV), to be held in Istanbul in May. They share their lobbying activities from their first day...
We’re here in New York to ensure that the preparation for LDC-IV includes discussions on water and sanitation. Much of the actual outcomes of LDC-IV will be decided ahead of the conference, so it’s crucial we’re here to share progress on water and sanitation coverage internationally and tell participants about the available solutions, such as the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) partnership.
The meeting, or ‘PrepCom’ as it is often termed, began today with statements of commitments and expectations from various governments, development partners, representative of civil society and permanent missions.
As a start of our lobby for increased prioritization and visibility of water, sanitation and hygiene in the Istanbul Program of Action, we met with the Liberia and Sierra Leone country delegations. We also met with LDC WATCH staff, as they are coordinating a civil society forum on 7, May 2011 in Istanbul ahead of LDC-IV, and it will be another great opportunity to lobby for sanitation and water.
Our lobby discussions with PrepCom participants was informed by the Brussels Plan of Action evaluation report which shows that LDCs did not make much progress regarding water and sanitation access. This report revealed that water access for rural populations in LDCs was just 50% in 2000 and had only increased to 54% by 2008. This is woefully poor. Sanitation progress is even worse – with less coverage in 2008 than in 2000. The report concluded that practically no investment has been made regarding water and sanitation infrastructure.
The initial draft of the Istanbul Program of Action has received additional comments from the USA, from CANZ (Canada, Australia and New Zealand) and the EU on its sanitation and water sections. Particularly debated is the new target to ensure water and sanitation for all by 2020. The Group 77 (G77) says it’s good to have targets beyond the end of the MDGs.
Copies of our civil society manifesto were given to nearly all PrepCom participants, with some even committing to the recommendations we have made already! This is good news, and we have arranged to meet with other strategic participants during the week. We’ll keep you updated.