HLM commitments discussed at Africa Water Week

23 May, 2014

Over 80 participants attended SWA’s session at the Africa Water Week on 26 May, where high-level representatives from across the Partnership discussed the recent 2014 High Level Meeting (HLM) and the more technical side of commitment implementation.

The panel was chaired by Mr. Samuel Ome, Director for Water Quality Control and Sanitation at the Nigerian Ministry of Water and Resources, moderated by Ms. Doreen Wandera, Executive Director of the Uganda Water and Sanitation NGO Network, and included representatives from two countries – Mr. Amadou Diallo, PEPAM coordinator at the Senegalese Ministry of Water and Ms. Juliana Kamanda, Advisor at Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation – and one development partner, Ms. Heather Skilling, a Senior WASH Advisor with USAID. SWA was represented by its Vice-Chair, Mr. Darren Saywell.

Presentations kicked off with an overview of the 2014 HLM by Mr. Darren Saywell, where he described the event’s unprecedented attendance, with 30 African countries represented, 20 of these at ministerial level (14 ministers of finance). He also described the main issues raised by participants, including harmonisation and coordination of donor inputs at country level, improving human resource capacity at all levels, the continued need for political prioritisation, evidence-based decision-making, national policy generation and planning and financing of WASH.

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Mr. Amadou Diallo’s address focused on the Senegalese Government’s plans to involve the private sector in WASH efforts. He described the Government’s reforms and how the private sector was positioned to assist addressing the challenges in operations, maintenance and functionality of water sources and systems.

Talking about Sierra Leone’s commitments, Ms. Juliana Kamanda expanded on the country’s Agenda for Prosperity and its Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, which acknowledges access to sanitation as a clear contributory mechanism to address poverty and develop the economy.

Bringing in the perspective of a donor organization, Ms. Heather Skilling stressed USAID’s commitment to working with governments in 12 countries to improve sanitation and hygiene for at least 6 million people. She noted that USAID was focussing on two key commitments: working to deliver programmes for sustainable sanitation and hygiene, and providing support for the generation of evidence and knowledge on improving sanitation and hygiene.

The panel presentations were followed by a debate with participants, where issues discussed included sustainability, inequalities and the importance of engaging parliamentarians.

For more information see Africa Water Week.