The Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting was an important milestone in the global campaign for safe drinking water and basic sanitation for all. As a coalition of NGOs in the water and sanitation sector, we watched proceedings closely, and waited to hear what commitments would be made by the French government.
We were pleased to hear the government reaffirm its commitment to the universal right to safe drinking water and basic sanitation, and that it would be working to strengthen international solidarity in order to implement this right. We also support the commitment to improve the effectiveness of the development instruments used by the French government. We welcome both of these pledges as a step in the right direction.
However, we observe a gap between the real needs of the sector and the resources allocated by France. In order to make real progress towards the provision of water and sanitation for all, we believe that the French government should:
1. Promote the effective implementation of the human right to water and sanitation
Whilst the UN General Assembly has recognised the right to water and sanitation as a fundamental human right, the challenge today lies in ensuring its practical implementation. France needs to promote the incorporation of the right to water and sanitation in national legislation as a fundamental right and push for the adoption of finance mechanisms for the most disadvantaged to ensure that everyone has affordable access to drinking water.
In order to uphold its commitment to focus on the most disadvantaged countries, France therefore needs to reverse the current trend and prioritise donations. Coalition Eau thus expects France to increase French bilateral aid grants for water and sanitation in the 2013 budget to a total of €100 million.
In view of the fact that new sources of finance are required to supplement Official Development Assistance and given that commitments are behind schedule, France should introduce a financial transaction tax to meet these financial requirements.
With a view to improving the effectiveness, coherence and quality of French cooperation within the water and sanitation sector, France needs to increase the effective participation of citizens in decision-making processes.
It is also important that these commitments and their implementation are strictly monitored and evaluated using specific and inclusive information, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.
You can read more about Coalition Eau at our website: http://www.coalition-eau.org