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Disrupt the status quo! Message by Neil Dhot on behalf of the Private Sector Constituency

Neil Dhot – SWA Private Sector Constituency Chairman
29 Mar 2019

A message by Neil Dhot – SWA Private Sector Constituency Chairman

Disrupt the status quo! Message by Neil Dhot on behalf of the Private Sector Constituency

Disrupt the status quo!

This is one of the pre-meeting messages from the SWA, and this is exactly what the Partnership’s Private Sector Constituency is going to do in Costa Rica.

With a delegation of 11 representatives, we are the largest group of private sector organisations ever seen at an SWA ministers’ meeting. We have tabled our commitments, and we are ready to be accountable for their impact and success.

A huge momentum has been building in our group since we started preparing for the SMM and we will arrive in Costa Rica ready as an equal and valued SWA partner.

But what is the status quo and how will we disrupt it?

For us, status quo is the sector’s problems, and the often-accompanied open declarations prefaced with the phrase ‘we must’!

That must stop now.

The Sector Ministers' Meeting has two key features that gives us confidence we can disrupt the status quo this time around; two things that make the SMM different from anything else we have seen in the sector.

First, the commitments process.

The commitments mean there is no hiding place for anyone. We all either pass or fail. For us, the distinction is that clear and we cannot fail.

To ensure we won’t, our group is tabling over 15 commitments, both at global and national levels. For example:

  • As a Constituency, by December 2019, we will have identified PS Country Focal Points for all MAM Priority Countries, striving to identify opportunities and suggesting mechanisms to develop catalytic and mutually beneficial collaborations;
  • In Nigeria, the PS is supporting the Government by developing cost effective financial and technological models for three sanitation schemes.

And the list continues.

Second, the SWA’s convening power.

The SWA is convening Ministers and representatives from over 60 countries – this is awesome. We are very proud to join these distinguished delegates and efforts. The Ministers are the enablers of the disruption that’s needed. The SWA Partners are here to make it happen.

Last year’s UN High Level Political Forum [1] strongly endorsed the role of the private sector as a leading enabler, acknowledging our ability to drive change, and urging countries to work with us. To that end, my group is bringing unrivalled diversity to the Ministers' Meeting:

  • Representatives from global utilities, successful multi-national and national WASH services-focused organisations;
  • Experts focused on harnessing and kick-starting local entrepreneurship and innovation;
  • Engineers who build the essential infrastructure that give the hardest to reach access to water and sanitation

We also bring unrivalled expertise that helps drive transformational change in achieving the SDGs:

  1. We are well positioned to Leave No One Behind: Globalized operations and supply chains mean businesses are often operating where the lack of access to WASH is most serious and where it affects the most vulnerable [2];
  2. We have the technical expertise to advise on the way resources can be leveraged to increase finance and investment for the sector;
  3. And we have disruptive ideas, like the Sanitation Economy, that unlocks sustainable business opportunities to ensure long-term resilient, self-sustaining sanitation systems.

All this under the recognition that Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) are fundamental Human Rights are driven by our commitment to deliver and protect those rights.

We can’t wait to get to Costa Rica to meet you, to deliver our commitments, and to take action – with You.


[1] Sustainable Development Goals

[2] WASH Matters -WaterAid