What are the SWA High-Level Meeting and High-Level Commitments Dialogue?

SWA encourages high-level decision makers to engage with other SWA partners, make commitments and take action to improve sanitation and water. SWA coordinates the High-Level Commitments Dialogue (HLCD) which encompasses the preparatory process that countries and donors carry out in advance of the High-Level Meeting to develop context-specific commitments, the biennial High-Level Meetings themselves, and the annual monitoring of those commitments. The HLCD is designed to encourage on-going political dialogue at the national and global levels and is focused on achieving results on the ground.

Every two years, SWA convenes national and global decision makers to discuss sanitation and water at the SWA High-Level Meeting (HLM). Developing countries and donors identify and commit to address the fundamental bottlenecks holding back progress and to act on international aid effectiveness principles. SWA monitors these commitments and issues a report on progress.

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High Level Commitments Dialogue




Who leads SWA?

SWA is led by the High-Level Chair, who provides political leadership to SWA and leads the high-level dialogue.

SWA has over 90 partners, divided into seven constituencies to ensure balanced representation of different WASH stakeholders on the SWA Steering Committee 

The Steering Committee chooses the SWA Vice Chair who serves as chair of the Steering Committee.

The Steering Committee also mandates and oversees the Secretariat, which provides support to the Chair, Steering Committee, Vice-Chair and SWA generally.




Does SWA fund projects?

No, there is no funding available from SWA. SWA is not an implementing organization, but rather provides a framework for partners to act, defining common priorities.


Who are the partners in SWA?

SWA has over 90 partners representing seven constituencies:

  1. Developing countries
  2. Donors
  3. Development Banks
  4. Multilaterals
  5. Research and Learning
  6. Civil Society
  7. Sector Partners

Full list of partners


What is SWA and how does it work?

SWA provides a framework for coordinated action and joint efforts to address the main bottlenecks in the WASH sector, according to Aid Effectiveness principles. Countries and organizations can achieve more in the WASH sector by working together and SWA is a platform to take this forward. Developing country governments can take the lead to develop and implement national plans to deliver sanitation and water to their populations. Donors and development partners can work to support their efforts by aligning and harmonizing. Civil society organizations are able to hold governments and donors accountable for their commitments and action on the ground.


  • provides a framework for coordinated action
  • provides a platform to implement aid effectiveness principles
  • encourages high-level dialogue and action
  • supports the development and implementation of country-led national planning processes.
  • promotes mutual accountability

SWA does not create new structures at national and regional levels or impose standard governance mechanisms for any activities at these levels. Rather, SWA relies on and liaises with existing country and regional mechanisms.  Where existing mechanisms are weak, SWA partners often utilize the opportunity provided by SWA to strengthen the national dialogue.   

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Why do we need SWA?

Two and a half billion people – over a third of the world’s population – live without adequate sanitation facilities. Nearly 800 million people still do not use improved sources of drinking water protected from outside contamination.

Historically, the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector has faced fundamental problems that present major obstacles to progress. 

  1. WASH is low on the political agenda, and funding to the sector is insufficient.
  2. National plans for WASH often need improving and lack coordinated support.
  3. Finance to the WASH sector is unpredictable and does not reach the countries that need it the most.
  4. At national level, the WASH sector lacks evidence, data and analysis to inform decision-making.
  5. The WASH sector lacks monitoring mechanisms and mutual accountability.

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