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Celebrating 10 years of SWA and GLAAS

Catarina de Albuquerque, CEO, Sanitation and Water for All
28 Aug 2019

In 2008, World Health Organization’s UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS) was initiated as the evidence arm of Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) global partnership. As SWA works towards strengthening country processes, increasing political prioritization of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and convening High-level Ministers’ meeting, GLAAS provides evidence to inform decision-making, specifically targeted towards sector and finance ministers who are engaged in the SWA high-level political dialogue. Over the past ten years, SWA and GLAAS have successfully collaborated towards bridging the gap between evidence and policy, by making sure decision-makers use a strong evidence base to support good decision making.

The current SWA strategy (2015-2020) emphasizes the role of compelling evidence for generating political will for water, sanitation and hygiene. In order to create this evidence-based advocacy, we work closely with GLAAS. SWA tracks the progress of its partnership in the WASH sector using SWA Results Framework. For each of the SWA Objectives listed in the strategy, the Framework includes expected outcomes and impacts and details the means of verification, such as indicators, sources of data and methods of collecting that data. Indicators for this framework, come majorly from WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (JMP) and GLAAS. In 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) and SWA collaborated with GLAAS to develop the collaborative behaviour country profiles, which were launched in March 2018. More recently, to prepare country profiles for the 2019 SWA Sector Ministers’ Meeting (SMM), countries relied on their national data sources including their Collaborative Behaviours Country Profiles, and the majority also used data from JMP and GLAAS reports.

It’s crucial for me to also highlight that a lot of our country partners provided data on inequalities in the current cycle of GLAAS. ‘Leave No One Behind’ is one of the guiding principles of SWA and when I was a Special Rapporteur for human rights to water and sanitation, I had collaborated with GLAAS to bring human rights consideration into the questionnaire. I am very happy to see how GLAAS has been making significant contributions to human rights monitoring.

With the 2018/2019 cycle, GLAAS is focusing on systems strengthening, with an emphasis on national policies, plans and targets. This has come at a very crucial time when SWA’s Mutual Accountability Mechanism requires that SWA commitments be drawn from the plans, strategies, targets and milestones that are developed by governments in collaboration with other stakeholders, within the existing government timeframes. Now, GLAAS will continue to monitor not just the Collaborative Behaviours, but also provide critical data for the remaining components of the SWA Framework (including the Building Blocks and Guiding Principles), as well as for the Mutual Accountability Mechanism. We at SWA are very happy for this valuable source of information that GLAAS has produced in its current cycle. In September, SWA and the GLAAS team is organizing a webinar on “Sector Planning: Strategies and their implementation.” This webinar will largely focus on the status of WASH systems as well as alignment with SDGs.

As we gear up for the Finance Ministers’ Meeting in Spring 2020, I would encourage all our partners across different constituencies to read the GLAAS report, use the results of GLAAS in shaping or strengthening the financial strategies and to implement the GLAAS recommendations to leave no one behind.