27 Nov, 2018
On 13-15 November SWA kicked-off the implementation of the Mutual Accountability Mechanism (MAM) with a meeting of the MAM pioneer countries. Nine of the 11 pioneer countries were represented (Mali, Morocco, Zambia, Malawi, Costa Rica, Kenya, Nigeria, Portugal and Viet Nam), 8 through governments officials. Representatives from other SWA constituencies these countries also attended, to ensure the multi-stakeholder nature of the MAM was reflected.
The meeting covered the ground from explaining what the Mutual Accountability Mechanism is, why it has been developed from the previous commitments process, and how it can be implemented by all constituencies. The role of these pioneer countries is not only to be among the first countries to make commitments, but also to provide feedback and learning on what the challenges in implementing the mechanism might be.
All countries present, as well as WSSCC and USAID, explored how they will manage the process towards identifying commitments and tabling them at the next Sector Ministers Meeting. WSSCC has already put one of their commitments on the table, which is to support 10 countries (among which may be pioneer countries) in implementing the Mutual Accountability Mechanism.
One of the most significant outputs of the meeting, beyond ensuring that all participants understand what the Mutual Accountability Mechanism is, was the plans of action created by each country, outlining how they will bring the message home to their constituencies and to other SWA partners, as well as identifying the relevant multi-stakeholder processes that they will engage with to identify commitments, and the people, including the SWA Focal Points and other SWA partners in each country that they will contact.
The participants also identified specific challenges that they could envisage in the implementation of the Mutual Accountability Mechanism, including the continued difficulty of engaging the ministry of finance, and ensuring that all ministries with a responsibility for WASH are collaborating. This is in part due to a lack of resources (human and financial) and corresponding failure to spend funds that are made available. It is hoped that the SWA Framework, including the Mutual Accountability Mechanism will provide some of the necessary impetus to improve institutional and financing systems to address these challenges (which are not exclusive to the Mutual Accountability Mechanism, but which affects progress in the WASH sector).
We also discussed opportunities for close cooperation among partners to ensure that lessons are learnt between countries, and solutions to the above challenges also shared. Given the mix of countries and constituencies, the meeting was able to provide opportunities to discuss within country groups as well as between constituency groups to build up a common understanding between participants.