2 Apr, 2019
By Amanda Robertson and Alayne Potter, USAID
The Ngor Declaration on Sanitation and Hygiene first and foremost commits to “Focus on the poorest, most marginalized and unserved aimed at progressively eliminating inequalities in access and use and implement national and local strategies with an emphasis on equity and sustainability”.
In 2015, Africa adopted the Ngor Declaration on Sanitation and Hygiene, which outlines 10 commitments, including the one stated above, to achieve universal access to adequate and sustainable sanitation and hygiene services and eliminate open defecation by 2030. During the AfricaSan5 Conference held in Cape Town, South Africa in February 2019, participants and countries focused on progress in the four years since the adoption of the Ngor Declaration on Sanitation and Hygiene and looked forward to next steps in the conference’s Country Dialogue sessions. To prepare for the Country Dialogues, USAID – through the Water for Africa through Leadership and Institutional Support (WALIS) Activity, and in collaboration with UNICEF – supported the African Council Minister’s on Water (AMCOW) in completing the first ever Ngor baseline monitoring. This country-by-country baseline fed into the Country Dialogues amongst many results. The goal of the Country Dialogue Sessions was to serve as a structured peer-to-peer knowledge exchange forum. Using the results of the baseline monitoring as a starting point, the specific objectives of the sessions were 1) Connecting with new knowledge and knowledge exchange with peers; 2) Identifying specific ideas and interventions to apply to make progress in their country; and 3) Prioritizing actions to be taken forward after the conference.
A total of 35 countries participated in the country dialogue sessions at AfricaSan5. The final stage of the Country Dialogues provided country teams with an opportunity to reflect on their existing sector and / or Ngor Commitment plans reflecting on: how well they address urgent gaps in the country’s Ngor Commitments, what lessons from other countries could be replicated, and how the Ngor Commitments could be more fully integrated into national planning and monitoring processes. The Deputy Minister from the Ministry of Health in Ethiopia commented that, “This was a great platform where we’ve been able to learn from one another. These meetings are key to progressing.”
The SWA Mutual Accountability Mechanism (MAM) similarly supports and strengthens country planning and review processes by requiring the multi-stakeholder development of roadmaps toward commitments that build off of existing processes whenever possible. These two processes provide a unique opportunity for country, regional, and global commitment processes to align and be mutually reinforced. At AfricaSan 5, events like the country dialogues, stakeholder dialogues, and the MAM side event allowed these processes to be co-mingled and discussed jointly by a variety of stakeholders. In addition, it called attention to the need for intentional alignment of these processes going forward.