Friday, 13 April 2012

Hopes and expectations for the Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting

Rolien Sasse is the CEO of Simavi in the Netherlands, a founding member of the End Water Poverty campaign. Here, she shares her expectations for the Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting next Friday

Many policy makers will be present at the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) High Level Meeting next Friday, April 20th. We can count on over 20 Finance Ministers from African, Southeast Asian and South Asian countries accompanied by over 50 Sector Ministers. This is an unprecedented number of Ministers for a meeting on water and sanitaton! Over the past months, End Water Poverty members worldwide have participated and initiated dialogues at both international and national levels about the importance of the Sanitation and Water for All partnership, and the promises that will be brought to the table during the meeting.

The High Level Meeting has one goal: to tackle the water and sanitation crisis worldwide. Commitment from so many policy makers creates a momentum. All the promises and expertise of both finance and water and sanitation policy makers must bring solutions to the table. The Sanitation and Water for All partnership demands both donor governments and governments from developing countries make clear national plans that reach specifically marginalised groups, and demands that governments are held accountable on these plans.

From the Dutch government, our Minister for International Cooperation, Mr Ben Knapen will be present. The Dutch government, together with the British, were two governments that initiated the SWA and the continued political commitment is an important signal for all other joining countries.

At national level, the Dutch government has prioritised water. It has set itself the goal to reach a further 25 million people with water and sanitation services, on top of the 30 million people that have gained access to water and 33 million people that have gained access to sanitation since 2005. And this is urgently needed as there are great disparities in access between regions, countries and between different people within each country.

Clear commitments to reach marginalised groups plus political prioritisation in action plans and budget allocations will show if the hope for success is implemented in practice. That so many Ministers are present is a first and important step to getting there.

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