Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Watch some of the highlights of the SWA High Level Meeting!

Did you manage to watch the Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting online on Friday? If not, you can access footage of the whole event here!

If you don't have time to watch the full three hour meeting, here are some of the highlights:

Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala speaks about the unique opportunity that the Sanitation and Water for All partnership presents:



Following End Water Poverty's tweet day targeting the EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, he attended the Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting in Washington D.C. Hear what he had to say:



USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah announced that USAID will join the Sanitation and Water for All partnership and promised $1million to support the most off-track countries:


More clips to come soon so watch this space to hear what your Finance or Development Minister had to say!





Success at SWA High-Level Meeting

Credit: WaterAid/Demot Tatlow/Panos Pictures

 Sarah Blakemore is the International Campaign Coordinator at End Water Poverty HQ. She was in Washington to attend the Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting

Just back from the Sanitation and Water for All high-level meeting where Ministers of Finance, Development and Water from 40 countries, along with policy-makers, multilateral organizations, development banks and End Water Poverty members met to make commitments to tackle the water and sanitation crisis.

After years of campaigning from End Water Poverty members including Crisis talks and the amazing 373,000-person strong World Walks for Water and Sanitation, Ministers from across Africa and Asia announced commitments that would provide 56 million people with safe drinking water and 78 million people with sanitation.

Rudy Amenga-Etego, from the African Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW) represented civil society at the meeting, delivering a one minute statement on behalf of civil society across the world; calling for leaders to step up and show strong leadership and move from incremental progress to transformational change.

Ministers pledged to decrease open defecation by 15%, improve access to water by 5% and increase access to safe sanitation by 7% by 2014.

Specific country commitments also included:
  • Benin committed to increasing its budget allocations for 2013-2014 by 100% per year for basic sanitation.
  • Burkina Faso committed to allocating at least US$35m to water and sanitation annually and promised to eradicate open defecation by 2015.
  • Kenya pledged that a further 20 million people would gain access to drinking water and sanitation by 2015 and Nigeria promised to progressively increase the budget allocation for water and sanitation over the next three years.
  • The Government of Pakistan committed to enhancing access to adequate sanitation for 20 million people by 2015 to achieve its MDGs targets and 14.4 million people to reach 100% coverage for improved drinking water.
  • The Government of Rwanda committed to ensuring that, by 2017, all people in Rwanda will gain access to improved water and sanitation.
  • Zambia committed to an estimated 1,000 schools receiving appropriate WASH facilities and ensuring that 1,000 rural wards are open defecation free by 2014.
Donor countries responded by making commitments of their own:

  • The UK announced it would double the amount of people it intends to reach with access to Sanitation and Water from 30 to 60 million over the next two years.
  • USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah announced that USAID will join the Sanitation and Water for All partnership and promised $1million to support SWA’s most off-track countries.
  • The Australian Government announced it would join the SWA.
  • The Dutch Minister for European Affairs and International Cooperation Ben Knapen announced a new initiative between the Netherlands and UK to bring water and sanitation to an additional 10 million people in nine countries in West and Central Africa.
  • Germany committed to reaching 30 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa with water and sanitation by 2015.

The pledges made at this meeting are an outstanding success for EWP members around the world. The challenge now is to make sure world leaders keep their promises by on delivering the national plans on time to make these commitments a reality.

Friday, 20 April 2012

SWA High Level Meeting Press Release!

Washington, DC, April 20, 2012 – World leaders from 40 countries commit to ending water and sanitation crisis at historic meeting

End Water Poverty welcomes the commitments made at the Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting. More and better targeted funding is needed if these ambitious goals are to be reached.

An unprecedented number of Ministers of Finance, Development and Water from 40 countries, along with development banks and civil society, came together today for this historic meeting to accelerate efforts to bring clean water and safe sanitation to millions.

Ministers of Water, Sanitation, Environment and Health from across Africa and Asia announced that in each of their countries they will strive to decrease open defecation by 15%, improve access to water by 5% and increase access to safe sanitation by 7% by 2014. These promises would provide 56 million people with safe drinking water and 78 million people with sanitation over the next two years (WaterAid figures).

Rudy Amenga-Etego, from the African Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW) who represented civil society at meeting said: “We’re pleased to see ambitious commitments being made to get water and sanitation to our citizens. We now need to see new funding, clear plans and better targeting to make sure these promises can be kept.”

Yakub Hossein, from the Freshwater Action Network South Asia (FANSA) said: “Only by working together, can we ensure that we start to see real progress for the poorest and most vulnerable communities. As civil society we commit ourselves to working together with governments and communities to tackle this crisis as well as ensuring that world leaders keep the promises they made today.”

Some developing countries went even further. Benin committed to increasing its budget allocations for 2013-2014 by 100% per year for basic sanitation, whilst Burkina Faso committed to allocating at least US$35m to water and sanitation annually and promised to eradicate open defecation by 2015. Kenya pledged that a further 20 million people would gain access to drinking water and sanitation by 2015 and Nigeria promised to progressively increase the budget allocation for water and sanitation over the next three years.

Crucially, developing countries called on donor countries to support them in reaching these ambitious targets by increasing resources and expertise for water and sanitation and better targeting aid to the poorest countries and communities.

Donor countries responded by making commitments of their own, with the UK announcing that they are doubling their commitment for water and sanitation over the next two years from 30 to 60 million people globally.

Dutch Minister for European Affairs and International Cooperation Ben Knapen announced a new initiative between the Netherlands and UK to bring water and sanitation to an additional 10 million people in nine countries in West and Central Africa. In all, the Netherlands intends to scale up its assistance to reach 25 million more people globally over the next four years.

Knapen said: “In the current economic climate we are not taking this decision lightly. We are giving a significant amount of money to UNICEF to help in this work, but when you count the health and economic benefits, and in particular the lives of children, the government of the Netherlands believes this is unquestionably the right call.”

Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development, said: “For too long, water and sanitation has not received the priority it deserves from the international community. That is why the Coalition Government will commit to helping over 60 million people access basic services, such as communal water pumps.”

Other donors followed suit with Germany committing to reaching 30 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa with water and sanitation by 2015, focusing on “the poor and extremely poor population… and the most vulnerable, such as slum dwellers and children.”

USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah announced that USAID will join the Sanitation and Water for All Partnership. Australia will also join the partnership.

End Water Poverty welcomes these commitments but emphasises that there is still a funding shortfall if countries are to reach these ambitious targets and get water and sanitation to those most in need.

Rolien Sasse, CEO of Simavi in the Netherlands and End Water Poverty civil society representative on the SWA steering committee said: “Civil society now has a crucial role in both supporting governments to deliver and holding them to account on these commitments –End Water Poverty members will be leading the way.”

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Update from the sector ministers meeting

Sarah Blakemore is the International Campaign Coordinator at End Water Poverty HQ. She is in Washington to attend the Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting amongst others. Here, she tells us about the meeting of Water, Sanitation, Environment and Health Ministers from Africa and Asia that took place today ahead of the High Level Meeting.

Today I took part in the pre-meeting of ministers responsible for water and sanitation in developing countries ahead of tomorrow's Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting.


Ministers were there to agree a joint ministerial statement to be presented to the Finance and Development Ministers at the High Level Meeting tomorrow. The statement was called ‘A Global Step Change for Universal Access’ and lays out Minister’s requests for donors and other ministers, as well as their own commitments to ensure the achievement of these goals.

Lajana Manandhar (National Convenor, FANSA Nepal), Rolien Sasse (CEO, Simavi, Netherlands) and Rudy Amenga-Etego (CEO of the Foundation for Grassroots Initiatives in Africa and representative of ANEW) had travelled to Washington DC to represent civil society at the meeting.

Lajana gave a short but inspiring speech at the beginning of the meeting on the urgency of tackling the water and sanitation crisis. She described how women and girls are the hardest hit (with women bearing 70 percent of the burden of collecting water) and introduced a short film on the human costs of dirty water and poor sanitation.

She called on Ministers to include the following commitments from the End Water Poverty briefing:

  • Significantly more and better funding for water, sanitation and hygiene, targeted at the most vulnerable communities, to achieve universal access by 2020

  • The development and implementation of viable national plans for water and sanitation, including the recognition and operationalisation of the human right to water and sanitation,

  • Ensuring equity and sustainability is at the heart of all approaches so that WASH services are accessible to all including the most vulnerable communities and specifically for women and girls.

This film was also shown at the meeting urging Ministers to act:


Later John Agyekum Kufuor, former president of Ghana and newly appointed chair of the SWA partnership, addressed the meeting and underlined the need for governments to act urgently saying ‘The dream of universal access to sanitation and water is within our reach’.

It is hoped that tomorrow's meeting will be an important step towards achieving that goal.

Live updates from SWA High Level Meeting in Washington!

Sector Ministers Meet today to prepare for tomorrow’s Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting!

Ministers responsible for Water and Sanitation, Environment and Health from 38 countries in Africa and Asia are meeting today at the Sector Ministers Meeting in Washington ahead of tomorrow's High Level Meeting.

This meeting is the sector ministers' opportunity to bring together their national and regional plans to discuss with civil society representatives ways to increase access to clean water and sanitation and improve WASH sector performance through increased investment and better targeting of aid to those most affected by the water and sanitation crisis.

Today's discussions will result in a joint ministerial statement to be presented to the Finance and Development Ministers in attendance at tomorrow's High Level Meeting, outlining their requests for donors and other ministers, which will include political and budgetary prioritisation of WASH, better targeting of resources, improved sector management and accountability, as well as their own commitments to ensure the achievement of these goals.

More information on what the sector ministers are already planning to ask for at the High Level Meeting tomorrow is available here, with more updates following the outcome of today's meeting and tomorrow's High Level Meeting still to come!

Crucial Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting tomorrow

The Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting is taking place this Friday in Washington D.C. and Sarah from the EWP secretariat will be there to give us the up to the minute news as it happens!

The SWA is an alliance of national governments, donors, civil society organisations and other development partners working together to increase political will and improve aid-effectiveness by mobilising and better targeting resources for water supply and sanitation. The High Level Meeting will bring together Finance and Development Ministers from across the globe to act upon the water and sanitation crisis.

Over 35 developing countries are expected to have a presence at the meeting along with donor countries, foundations and development banks. These countries and organisations are expected to come to the meeting on Friday ready to make concrete commitments to ensure that water and sanitation reaches the world's poorest countries and communities. You can take a look at some of the Statements of Commitments that will be made here.

Taking your voices to Washington!

We said we’d take your voices to Washington, and here’s how we will:

- Lajana Manandhar (National Convenor, FANSA Nepal), Rolien Sasse (CEO, Simavi, Netherlands) and Rudy Amenga-Etego (CEO of the Foundation for Grassroots Initiatives in Africa and representative of ANEW) will be the civil society representatives at the Ministerial Dialogue on Thursday and the High Level Meeting on Friday and they will make sure that they highlightall of your amazing campaigning work. They will be updating us regularly through blogs and tweets during the week too.

- An incredible 373,000 people have now walked for water and sanitation! And we have produced a new film to highlight a selection of the walks that took place in 70 countries across the globe.

video

The film is directed at Development and Finance Ministers and asks them to make sure that they attend the Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting and go ready to commit to action. We have sent this film on data sticks to Finance Ministers in over 20 countries and will be giving these out in Washington as Ministers and officials arrive for the meeting on Friday!

- We have produced a briefing sheet showing the commitments that we are calling for from leaders at the High Level Meeting.

These include:

  • Significantly more and better funding for water, sanitation and hygiene, targeted at the most vulnerable communities, to achieve universal access by 2020
  • The development and implementation of viable national plans for water and sanitation, including the recognition and operationalisation of the human right to water and sanitation
  • Ensuring equity and sustainability is at the heart of all approaches so that WASH services are accessible to all including the most vulnerable communities and specifically for women and girls.

To find out more, download the full briefing sheet here.

For press enquiries and interviews, please email jenniferwilliams@endwaterpoverty.org .

Monday, 16 April 2012

Raising awareness by Walking for Water and Sanitation in Pakistan!


Ikhtiar Khaskhelly is Provincial Coordinator of the Sindh Chapter of FANSA-Pakistan. Here, he tells us about their Walk for Water and Sanitation!

Freshwater Action Network South Asia (FANSA) Pakistan, Sindh Chapter took part in the World Walks for Water and Sanitation on 22 March with the collaboration of local member NGOs, Khairpur Rural Development Organization (KRDO) and Sukaar Development Foundation (SDF). We worked with school children in a remote village of District Khairpur Sindh, Pakistan and we had two different activities.

Hygiene session!

In Pakistan, there is no hygiene education in the government curriculum

and it is not taught iwidely n schools. The rural population has a low literacy rate, only 14% amongst males, and so there is less awareness of the imporatance of safe hygiene practices. Over 95% of the population practices open defecation in the area in which our Walks took place.

We organised hygiene education sessions in the school and taught the importance of handwashing, safe drinking water and the use of toilets and avoidance of open defecation. Over 200 girls and boys and several teachers joined in!

Walk!

After the hygiene session, we organized a walk and rally to raise awareness amongst the villagers. Lots of students took part and their parents asked many questions about World Water Day and the World Walks for Water and Sanitation! We talked to the parents about the importance of safe drinking water and toilets to avoid disease. The village has a hand pump but no single toilet is constructed in any of the homes.

Impact

These activities helped to educate both students and teachers. The teachers have even asked to continue with hygiene education on a weekly basis and the students have promised to clean their teeth, body and clothes regularly! Parents of students will be helped and encouraged to construct toilets in their homes too!

FANSA-Sindh Chapter, Pakistan will continue with these kind of sessions and awareness meetings with the community and schools to raise awareness about to use the safe drinking water and improved sanitation!

1,200 walk in Sierra Leone!

Musa from WASH-Net Sierra Leone updates us on how Sierra Leone Walked for Water and Sanitation in Freetown on World Water Day!

Our Walks for Water and Sanitation began from two locations in Freetown on World Water Day, with a total of 1,200 people walking 10km to meet at a central point. Walkers carried banners and placards calling for increased budgetary allocation to water and sanitation and demanding WASH commitments in the build up to the 2012 elections, stating ‘give me water and sanitation and I will vote for you!’ People also sang anti-poverty songs and chanted slogans as they marched through the main streets of the city, and shared flyers with other members of the public to create awareness. A key demand of the day’s events was to keep up pressure to ensure leaders carried commitments beyond the upcoming Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting in Washington.

Representatives from the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources joined the walk and a position statement on the urgent need for increased commitment, prioritisation and improved water, sanitation and hygiene was read out and presented to the Government of Sierra Leone on the day. The walk was very successful, particularly in improving citizen’s understanding of the relevance of WASH to public health concerns and getting people involved in the message of WASH importance for the first time!

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.