…As WaterAid Calls for Clear targets to ensure sanitation for all by 2030 – By: WASH R&E “Media” Network – Liberia has presented papers at the 4th AfricaSan Conference in Dakar, Senegal on Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) as part of efforts to ensure the creation of an enabling environment for improved Water, Sanitation and Hygiene(WASH) services.
The conference which was postponed for eight months due to the Ebola outbreak, is now from May 25-27 2015, with an aim to build momentum to address the sanitation crisis across the African continent.
Presenting papers at one of the sessions, CLTS Technical Advisor at Global Communities-Liberia, George Woryonwon spoke of progress, challenges and prospects of the WASH sector in Liberia, with respect to sanitation.
Mr. Woryorwon disclosed that through the best practice of the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) Initiative, about 400 communities have gone Open Defecation Free (ODF) in Liberia.
He told the gathering that Liberia remains committed to all protocols signed to improve the WASH sector.
He also said Liberia was making progress in addressing the problem of fragmentation through its regular coordination meetings.
He however mentioned challenges that the sector is facing which mainly is concentrated around the issue of financing.
The AfricanSan Conference is bringing together Ministers responsible for Sanitation in Africa who are poised to take decisive steps toward achieving universal access to improved sanitation in Africa in the post 2015 development era.
As a mark of their seriousness in pursuing this agenda, the Ministers are expected to make far reaching commitments far bolder than the eThekwini Commitments of 2008.
Minister of Hydraulic and Sanitation, Senegal made this known at a media briefing to announce the convening of the AfricaSan 4 conference by the Government of Senegal.
The main output from AfricaSan 4 will be a ministerial statement with new, easy to track, continent-wide commitments on key steps to making sanitation for all a reality in Africa.
It is also expected that member countries will make individual country commitments to increasing access to improved sanitation in respective countries and equally outline country action plans and a summary of progress expected to be achieved within set targets.
The AMCOW Executive Secretary, Mr. Bai Mass Taal at the briefing reiterated that the overall objective of AfricaSan 4 is to assist African countries achieve universal access to improved sanitation and adoption of good hygiene behaviors, to improve service management across the whole value chain, eliminate open defecation and help all Africans climb the sanitation ladder.
He noted that AfricaSan is a bold initiative by AMCOW to promote political prioritization of sanitation and hygiene.
This year’s Conference is especially significant because for the first time, it is country led in the sense that the Government of Senegal represented by the Ministry of Hydraulic and Sanitation is responsible for convening and organizing the conference with support from AMCOW, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and development partners.
The event convening at the Abdou Diouf International Conference Centre was declared open by Senegalese President, Macky Sall.
The conference consists of 61 sessions that will provide platform for delegates to discuss issues relating to water, sanitation and hygiene on the continent.
Meanwhile, the British Charity, WaterAid has called on African nations to make clear and ambitious targets to deliver sanitation for all by 2030
According to WaterAid, African leaders must prioritise sanitation from the highest decision making levels and support the proposed UN Sustainable Development Goal to ensure water and sanitation for all by 2030.
The conference comes at a critical time as UN member nations negotiate the final stages of the new Sustainable Development Goals, which will come into effect next year and determine the shape of development to 2030.
Every year 400,000 children under five die in Africa because of diseases linked to poor sanitation – almost four times as many as in the rest of the world combined.
Currently more than 83% of people in Liberia lack access to sanitation, and a 47% of the population practices open defecation (JMP 2014).
The World Health Organization (2012) estimates that for every US$1 spent in water and sanitation, there is an economic return of US$4. Sanitation brings the biggest return on investment, with up to US$8 return in some regions for every US$1 invested.
To support monitoring and engagement, WaterAid has just unveiled its redesigned WASHWatch reporting system to track Africa’s commitment to bring water and sanitation to its citizens and support universal access for all.
The centrepiece of WASHWatch is a new interactive world map of water and sanitation, which shows predicted progress by 2030 – the target date proposed for the new UN Sustainable Development Goals for achieving basic toilets for all.
WaterAid’s new WASH Map demonstrates that despite assurances from African nations that sanitation is a priority; by 2030 more than 66% of the African population will still be living without adequate sanitation – a reduction of only 4% over the next fifteen years.
Political leadership is vital to accelerate progressin financing, monitoring and capacity development, and ensure that no one is left behind on the road to 2030.
An additional 50 million people a year will need to be provided with access to safe, sanitary toilets if Africa is to meet its target.
Mariame Dem, WaterAid’s West Africa Head of Region, said:
“Not enough progress has been made on sanitation and it is time for African leaders to honour their commitments. Some 53.3 million Africans must be reached each year if we are to reach everyone in Sub-Saharan Africa with basic, hygienic toilets by 2030.
“This is an immense undertaking, particularly in Africa where the lack of sanitation is so widespread, and it cannot be achieved unless African leaders commit with political will and financing to prioritise sanitation.
“We are calling on the African ministers attending AfricaSan 4 to put their promises into action. Their people need dedicated leaders who are willing to rally their resources and do everything in their power to reach everyone in their nations. Ambitious targets alone are not enough.”
Poor sanitation has a terrible impact on both the health and economies of African nations, which lose on average between 1% and 2.5% of their GDP to lost productivity and medical costs associated with treating illnesses linked to dirty water and poor sanitation.
Access to clean water, basic sanitation and good hygiene practices are basic human rights. They free women and children from the chore of fetching water and the dangers associated with open defecation to allow them to work or attend school, and are critical to good health.
The WASH Map identifies those African nations which are lagging the furthest behind the 2030 sanitation target, with the furthest behind shown to be Togo, Malawi, Niger and Sierra Leone. Only one in ten people in Togo and Malawi will have access to sanitation by 2030.
The Seychelles and Mauritius are predicted to make the strongest progress, with 3% and 8% of the population still living without sanitation respectively by 2030, but even they fail to reach the target of universal access. These are closely followed by South Africa at 12% and Angola at 14%. Only six countries in the region will manage to reach 50% of the population or more with basic, sanitary toilets.
WaterAid is part of action/2015, a global movement of 1,200 organizations in 125 countries working to ensure a better future for people and our planet in this transformative year for tackling poverty, inequality and climate change.