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SWA at the High-level Political Forum

04 Jul 2016

The Sanitation and Water for All partnership supported the organisation of a side event at the High-level Political Forum at the United Nations entitled “Tracking Progress to Ensure No-one is Left Behind - Contributing to Follow Up and Review of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Targets of the SDGs”. The event, which took place on July 20th 2016, was co-hosted by the governments of Portugal and the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. The SWA Executive Chair, Ms Catarina de Albuquerque, moderated the event.


HLPF Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 10.55.12


H.E. Mr. Ahmed Shide Mohamed, State Minister of Finance and Economic Development of Ethiopia, welcomed participants and spoke of Ethiopia’s experience with the “One WASH” National Programme, a seven-year initiative which brings together four ministries; Water, Health, Education and Finance. The Program has ambitious targets, which will result in high levels of access to water and sanitation in both urban and rural areas, and to 80% of communities in the country being declared open defecation free by 2020.

The UN Deputy Secretary-General, Mr Jan Eliasson, gave a keynote address stressing the interconnectedness of the SDGs, saying, “it is time we had a universal declaration of interdependence”. He commended SWA for bringing people together to achieve progress on water, sanitation, hygiene, and spoke of water as “peace, life, dignity” saying “we need a vision of water as a reason to achieve peace” and stressing that “when we say leave no-one behind, it is not charity, but an acknowledgement of duty”.

H.E. Mr. Álvaro Mendonça e Moura, the Permanent Representative of Portugal, spoke of the institutional and policy innovation that the government of Portugal has implemented to deliver universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene, including building a strong legislative and institutional framework, establishing consumer protection and setting quality of service goals.

Ms de Albuquerque moderated a panel discussion between three representatives of external support agencies: Ms Sarina Prabasi, the Chief Executive of WaterAid America, Mr Ganesh Ramakrishnan Deputy Director, Program Advocacy and Communications at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Mr. Ted Chaiban, Director of Programmes at UNICEF. The panelists spoke of the need to invest in capacity, policy, planning, monitoring to support governments, and the need to remove the barriers to universal access. Mr Ramakrishnan mentioned the complex mix of partners that need to work together to achieve SDG 6, and said that ‘’SWA is critical to unify and create dialogue”.


The HLPF is the United Nations’ central platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. It has a mandate to provide political leadership, guidance and recommendations on the 2030 Agenda's implementation and follow-up; keep track of progress; spur coherent policies informed by evidence, science and country experiences; as well as address new and emerging issues.


Speakers and Panellists



Mr. Jan Eliasson,

UN Deputy Secretary-General


H.E. Mr. Tekeda Alemu,

Permanent Representative of

the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia


Mr. Álvaro Mendonça e Moura,

Permanent Representative of Portugal

Ms. Catarina de Albuquerque,

Executive Chair, SWA


Ms. Sarina Prabasi,

Chief Executive, WaterAid America


Mr. Ted Chaiban,

Director of Programmes, UNICEF


Mr. Ganesh Ramakrishnan,

Deputy Director,

Program Advocacy and Communications,

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation