On 20 April 2012, the Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting (SWA-HLM) will take place in Washington DC. And at the end of 2011, the Dutch government that our Minister of International Cooperation, Mr. Ben Knapen, intends to be present!
Soon after this, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the United States confirmed that they are intending to attend at a Ministerial level too! These are hugely important steps and will encourage civil society organisations and those governments attending the meeting to push other political leaders to join them.
The Dutch government has also gone a step further by promising to take the lead in coordinating and fine-tuning the promises that European donor countries will bring to the High-Level Meeting. As a world leader in water with proven active involvement and support for the SWA process, this is a perfect role for the Dutch government. And I hope that they help to ensure good outcomes from the meeting!
Within the End Water Poverty network of over 180 civil society organisations worldwide, we exchange information about Sanitation and Water for All. And it is good to hear that both in developing countries and in donor countries, civil society organizations are involved in national preparatory processes. This will increase the chances of an effective High Level Meeting and ensure that voices from marginalized groups are heard.
And that is my simple expectation for 2012 from the SWA as a political process: a successful High Level Meeting. This will lead to direct results on awareness and increased political commitment towards the realization of safe drinking water and sanitation for all, especially marginalized groups. As a Steering Committee member representing the civil society organizations within the EWP network, I am looking forward to working towards a successful High-Level Meeting together.