Mauritania’s WASH sector is beset by significant gaps in service between rural and urban populations (and between the rich and poor quintiles). Access rates to drinking water and sanitation are much lower in rural areas (and among poor populations). A major social consequence of these low access rates is that diarrheal diseases continue to be the second-highest cause of infant mortality in the country.
The country’s sector strategy, which covers the SDG period, has taken this situation and these gaps into account. So, equity in resource allocation, especially targeted towards vulnerable groups, will be improved by strengthening the sector’s adherence to the SCAPP (the “Stratégie de Croissance Accélérée et de Prospérité Partagée”, the Strategy for Accelerated Growth and Shared Prosperity). The SCAPP was formally adopted in October 2017 and notably includes a priority action plan for 2016 – 2020.
Mauritania has increasingly taken a collaborative approach to sector work, under the leadership of the government. At the national level, the SCAPP, which constitutes the political framework for the country’s development, was formulated with participation from technical partners, the civil society and elected representatives. In the WASH sector, the government and development partners are collaborating to improve work methods. At the local level, the government is working with local administrations to regroup villages in order to accelerate the provision of public services (including WASH services). Finally, the REPAM (the “Réseau d’Eau Potable et d’Assainissement de Mauritanie”, the Mauritania Network for Drinking Water and Sanitation) hopes to become the central – and formal – forum for knowledge management and information sharing on the sector.
Public financing for the WASH sector have significantly increased in the recent past, notably with infrastructure projects for water, a new dedicated line for the sector on the national budget, and mobilization of finances for sanitation from technical and financial partners. Simultaneously, the sector is acting to improve its absorption capacities of available funds while easing public procurement procedures. Other ongoing actions include strengthening of human resource capacities, implementation of a coordinated, harmonized and sustainable Monitoring and evaluation system, as well as evidence-based sector coordination.
A recent initiative aptly illustrates this government-led multi-stakeholder collaboration. In November 2017, the sector ministry, with help from the Unicef, organized the “Workshop on Follow-up of the SWA High-level Meeting: Financing, Monitoring and Evaluation of SDGs”. Participants included representatives from the government, technical and financial partners, the private sector and civil society. General presentations on the sector and the SWA were followed by discussions. At the end of the Workshop, participants formulated joint recommendations on the SWA’s Building Blocks to improve sector performance.
These strong multi-stakeholder collaborations are starting to yield significant results. The sector benefits from a strong synergy in the advocacy efforts undertaken by the different actors. Moreover, there has been a great acceleration in the consensus-building process for definitive strategic orientations for the sector.