Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Post-2015 Blog Week: 'The WASH sector needs more ambitious targets and more robust indicators' by Guy Hutton, JMP

 Guy Hutton is  Consultant to the WHO / UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) and Coordinator of JMP Post-2015 Process. In this blog he explains the process for designing an improved monitoring system for water, sanitation and hygiene after 2015.

Having a Millennium Development Goal target for drinking water and sanitation has provided much needed focus and advocacy for a sector that has struggled to deliver in previous decades. However, with the end-date of the MDG period of 2015 looming, there is now a common aspiration to improve the way we monitor drinking water and sanitation globally, that includes having more robust indicators as well as including hygiene practices more explicitly in future targets. It is also recognized that a proliferation of initiatives to improve global, regional and national monitoring can suck valuable resources out of service delivery itself; hence the various monitoring initiatives need to be coordinated and mutually reinforcing.

As part of its current 5-year strategy, and to respond to these expectations, the Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) partners – WHO and UNICEF – have initiated a broad and deep stakeholder process to improve the world’s water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) monitoring system. 

To kick-start this process, a stakeholder consultation was held in Berlin in May, 2011. The meeting reached a consensus that the WASH sector needs more ambitious targets and more robust indicators, reflecting different steps in service levels – and hence relevant to more countries. With the recognition of water and sanitation as a human right in 2010, the future WASH sector monitoring needs to closely reflect the criteria contained in the human right. Greater disaggregation of statistics is needed to reveal disparities in services for specific population groups, and global targets should incentivize governments to focus on the harder-to-reach population groups. Furthermore, future targets should include shorter – interim – time periods – such as every 5 years – to give politicians something to aim to achieve within their term of office

After the Berlin meeting a roadmap was drafted that helps JMP and its partners to plan the key milestones until September 2013, when proposed WASH targets and indicators will be tabled as part of the broader future development framework at the UN General Assembly. By then we need a set of broadly consulted, technically sound, practically feasible and politically bankable options for WASH targets and indicators.
So, in order to be able to propose appropriate options for improved WASH targets and indicators, the JMP constituted in January 2012 four working groups (water, sanitation, hygiene, and equity & non-discrimination (END)) who have been working intensively. The working groups contain global experts in their respective fields, and some regional/country representation. Broader reference groups have been formed and other consultation processes initiated to ensure wider participation. There is an internet-based consultation ongoing during September, to feed into a consolidated proposal of the four working groups for a global WASH goal, and corresponding targets and indicators. Go to to find out more and have your say

We as a sector cannot operate in a vacuum. We will need to be increasingly visible at the political level. We need to continually remind the world that the agenda of water, sanitation and hygiene are far from met. We need to discuss and harmonise with other related fields such as water resources, education, health and governance. We need to find ways to dialogue with and influence the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel and country processes that have been set in motion following Rio+20.

Give us your response here, or get in touch with the JMP directly if you would like to discuss how to contribute to this process:

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