In spite of the Government’s pledge to commit 0.5% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to sanitation, the 2011 budget made provision for 0.1%, said Executive Secretary of the Coalition of NGOs in water and sanitation (CONIWAS), Mr Benjamin Arthur. Ghana is one of the signatories of the 2008 eThekwini Declaration in which 17 African governments pledged to allocate a minimum of 0.5% of GDP for sanitation and hygiene.
Arthur said despite the government’s 2010 promise to commit 200 million dollars every year towards water and sanitation activities beginning in 2011, this year’s budget did not reflect that commitment.
Ghana had met only 45 per cent of the commitments, meaning the country would not be able to meet its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target. It has achieved 59 per cent coverage for water, while for sanitation it was last but one at the bottom in West Africa and Africa. Sanitation coverage was only 13 per cent. At the current rate Arthur estimated it would take another 40 years for Ghana to be able to attain the MDG target of 54 per cent coverage.
“We have a situation where our governments have penned their signatures to international conventions and treaties committing themselves to the principle that water and sanitation are human rights issues, and therefore they will make it possible for most, if not all of us, to have access to these facilities.
“It means that whichever way possible, our government should try and make these facilities accessible, especially to the poor and the marginalized,” the Executive Secretary said.
The outcome of the workshop would be used an an input for a National Stakeholders Workshop and a National Action Plan.
Workshop Facilitator Mr Patrick Apoya said although traditionally the rights to water and sanitation were accepted, they were still not embedded in Ghana’s constitution. Apoya said many African governments were resisting putting the rights to water and sanitation in their laws and constitutions because they were afraid that people would hold them accountable.
You can track Ghana’s progress on fulfilling its WASH commitments on WASHWatch.org
For an overview of countries that have included rights to water and sanitation in national law see www.righttowater.info
Source: GNA / Ghanaweb.com, 29 Jun 2011