Mr. Murali Ramisetty, Convenor, Freshwater Action Network South Asia
24 Apr, 2014 in HLM
At the start of the Sector Ministers Meeting (SMM) on 10th April at PAHO, I was not sure what such a huge gathering of sector leaders can achieve in a one day meeting. At the end of the day however, once I had listened to the Honorable Minister of Afghanistan summarizing the commitments made by countries starting from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, I felt that the outcome was quite rewarding for everyone who had worked hard in making the SMM happen.
Reaching WASH services to everyone, particularly the most marginalized, and avoiding the 'slip back' tendency on commitments are major issues in South Asia and thus they are a core focus of my work. I was delighted to note that the 2014 HLM gave the highest importance to both these issues. I had the great opportunity to share the CSOs experience of community empowerment based approaches in tackling inequities. It was very insightful to listen to experiences shared from Africa on these issues. On the whole I do feel that in a period of just four years the SWA Partnership has made big progress in promoting the indispensable role WASH plays in development and getting high level political commitments to prioritize WASH.
But, all of us are obviously concerned about these commitments making actual progress in providing sustainable services to everyone, especially, the aged, people living with disabilities, children, women, homeless people, socially disadvantaged and all other vulnerable groups. As a member of the CSO community, I feel that our role should be to ensure that prioritizing WASH and all country commitments made are consistently retained irrespective of the changes in parties in power.
We need to capacitate the local community leaders to take advantage of these new commitments in their ongoing local struggles for accessing WASH services. The new commitments at the HLM must be made very popular through media and citizens’ campaigns, thereby increasing the demand and accountability for progress on the commitments. FANSA will be supporting Sector ministries to advocate, within their governments and with all other sector partners, including external aid agencies, for adequate and sustained financing within country plans to ensure all governments are able to deliver on their SWA HLM commitments.