Skip to main content

Homegrown commitments – Pakistan’s approach to developing commitments from the bottom-up

Sanitation and Water for All Secretariat
29 Mar 2019

SWA partners briefing The Hon. Zartaj Gull, Minister of Climate Change, on the 2019 SMM and the Mutual Accountability Mechanism

Pakistan has been a partner of SWA since 2010 and has been represented by the Ministry of Climate Change in the partnership. Pakistan has made significant contributions to the partnership including through a case study on how SWA partners engage at country level as well as through participation in the country processes working group.

Currently, partners in Pakistan are working together to prepare for the Sector Ministers’ Meeting and they are using the mutual accountability mechanism to develop constituency specific commitments which already align with their national plans and targets and receive inspiration from regional priorities (SACOSAN) and international commitments e.g. SDG. They are using newly devised processes and outcomes of provincial and national dialogues to have a preparatory process which brings in new partners from different constituencies and catalyses action across the work of many stakeholders.

Pakistan is advanced in putting in place the key pillars of the mutual accountability mechanism. Working through their provincial Joint Sector Reviews (JSRs), introduced in 2016-17, a set of homegrown indigenous targets for the WASH SDGs. The targets drew from the various provincial level dialogues culminated into collective dialogue in form of the national joint sector review (the most recent was in December 2018). In response to these initiatives and performance of two related targets under MDG 7, the government has now initiated a country wide movement which has a very strong WASH focus.

Pakistan has followed a systematic process to arrive at their homegrown commitments. The process has developed over time and has included activities focused on:

  • Capacity development initiatives: After the devolution in 2010 the water and sanitation mandates were devolved to provinces. The role of Federal Government was to provide the policy guidance, coordination and report on National and regional and international forums. Federal and provincial governments were not well prepared for this paradigm shift.

    In 2012 the SWA commitments process was initiated in Pakistan, Ministry of Climate Change (at that time it was Ministry of Environment) with the support of development partners like UNICEF, WSP- World Bank agreed to initiate the commitments process and a process of regular consultations with Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) and provinces was initiated. This paved the way to initiate the capacity development by sensitizing the respective political leaderships for shifting the mandate of water and sanitation at Federal level in MoCC, which was successfully acquired in 2016.

    After this achievement MoCC developed the first PC_1 to establish a WASH cell with in MoCC with an objective to provide support to provincial governments in bridging the capacity gaps and also creating a national platform for experiential sharing, knowledge management and learnings among the provinces. Since 2016 MoCC has successfully supported to provinces in SDG costing and planning processes, and organizing JSRs which were instrumental in providing training and diagnosing the status of progress and the challenges facing the sector.
  • Setting SDG targets: a detailed consultative process was initiated with all the provinces and stakeholders to develop the baseline for safely managed sanitation and water services. This exercise was crucial to understanding the priorities at country level as well as determining the resources needed to achieve the targets. The 2017 SWA High-level Meetings placed significant emphasis on this process.
  • Assessing the cost for achieving the water, sanitation and hygiene targets of the SDGs: Pakistan was one of the 30 countries which used the SDG costing tool to estimate the financing needs and funding gap for achieving the SDG targets. Pakistan took this process further by doing the estimates first through their provincial structures and then at national level. This process helped to guide the provinces to plan budgets in line with the SDG targets.
  • Strengthening of Monitoring Processes: Partners in Pakistan worked on the national level monitoring process, involving the Bureau of statistics and stakeholders to understand the needs and align it with SDGs.
  • Institutional Arrangement: To strengthen systems capacity assessment was applied based on identification and input from the stakeholders a WASH cell was established at national level.

In view of the Sector Ministers’ Meeting and as pioneer country for the mutual accountability mechanism, Pakistan is currently undertaking discussions to agree home grown SMART commitments to be tabled in April. The process builds on the outcomes of the December 2018 Joint Sector Review and is now focused on agreeing commitments of various stakeholder groups including the private sector, research and learning agencies, civil society and external support agencies.

As a pioneer country, Pakistan will showcase the conceptual framework for WASH sector Enabling Environment, conceived in 2016, which initiated the work of the various actors involved in their multi-level, multi-stakeholder platforms during the SWA Sector Ministers' Meeting.