Category Archives: Policy

Review of eThekwini commitments at AfricaSan 4: Progress still slow, new commitments expected

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Photo: Javier Acebal/WSSCC Photo: Javier Acebal/WSSCC

By Alain Tossounon

Seven years after the commitments made in eThekwini, The African world is meeting in Senegal for the 4th Conference on Sanitation and Hygiene. The meeting in Dakar could be the opportunity for yet another new start. However, the review of the commitments made in Kigali, Rwanda, shows that, although some countries have made significant efforts, others are still lagging behind. A spurt of effort is now needed to ensure universal access to sanitation in all countries on the continent.

In 2008, 45 African countries took up the challenge of prioritizing sanitation to achieve the MDGs. Since then, 42 countries have actually pursued the process of monitoring progress towards fulfilling the commitments made at eThekwini, and over 30 have produced action plans.

Photo: Javier Acebal/WSSCC Mansour Faye, Minister of Water and Sanitation in Senegal, during the opening ceremony of AfricaSan 4. Photo: Javier Acebal/WSSCC

Seven years on, the picture…

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From eThekwini to Ngor: A bumpy road for sanitation

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Photo: Javier Acebal/WSSCC Photo: Javier Acebal/WSSCC

By Raphael Mweninguwe in Dakar, Senegal

The road from eThekwini, in South Africa, to Ngor, in Senegal, has been a very rough and bumpy one in as far as improving access to billions of people in Africa is concerned, experts admit.

The eThekwini Declaration was launched in 2008, when African Ministers and experts met to commit themselves to improving the sanitation and hygiene in Africa. Since then little progress has been done.

During the Opening Plenary of the 4th African Conference on Sanitation and Hygiene on Tuesday, Senegalese President Macky Sall said that the road from eThekwini has not been in vain. He pointed out that some achievements have been made, but the road remains bumpy.

President Sall also explained that “as Africa now changes its road map from eThekwini to Ngor, I dont think we will miss another opportunity to have our people fail…

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Recognition of the human rights to water and sanitation by UN Member States at the international level

Recognition human rights for WASH coverNew publication by Amnesty International and WASH United.

All UN Member States have recognised that the human right to water and the human right to sanitation are part of binding international human rights law.

This publication gathers the evidence of the universal recognition of the human rights to water and sanitation: it gives an overview of the most important resolutions and declarations that recognise the human rights to water and sanitation, including the positions that individual states have taken when those documents were adopted. For 77 countries, it also lists their individual positions and how these have changed over time.

The document has previously served as an internal reference guide for Amnesty International and WASH United. We are publishing it to help others identify the position that their country has taken on the human rights to water and sanitation, to advocate for the rights in their own national contexts, to ensure that these rights will not be ignored in the formulation and implementation of national water and sanitation laws and policy, and to help advance strategic litigation before national, regional and international justice mechanisms.

Gonzalez, C., Khalfan, A., Lande, L. van de, Neumeyer, H. and Scannellad, P., 2015. Recognition of the human rights to water and sanitation by UN Member States at the international level : an overview of resolutions and declarations
that recognise the human rights to water and sanitation. London, UK and Berlin, Germany: Amnesty International and WASH United. 124 p.

Available from WASH United website and Amnesty International website

Public Finance for WASH initiative launched

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Today sees the launch of Public Finance for WASH, a research and advocacy initiative aiming to increase awareness of domestic public finance and its critical importance for water and sanitation provision in low-income countries. Check out our website www.publicfinanceforwash.com.

This is a collaborative initiative between IRC, Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP), and Trémolet Consulting. A key aim is to offer easy-to-read but rigorous information about domestic public finance solutions: our first three Finance Briefs are now available for download from our website, and over the coming year we will be building a comprehensive resource library.

And just to make sure we’re on the same page: what exactly is domestic public finance? Essentially, it’s money derived from domestic taxes, raised nationally (e.g. by the Kenyan government) or locally (e.g. by Nairobi’s municipal government). This money is going to be critical for achieving the water and sanitation SDGs: so how can we all work together to ensure that what we’re doing is supporting (not inhibiting) the development of effective public finance systems? And how can public finance be spent in ways that catalyse the development of dynamic markets for water and sanitation services?

To find out more, please check out the website. If you’d like to become involved in any way, get in touch!

From WASH to Environmental WASH: BRAC’s new strategy

BRAC LogoBRAC plans to expand its scope beyond WASH to water security and from rural to urban areas, as well as moving from service provider to facilitator.

The BRAC WASH Programme is rebranding. For 2016-2020 it will be renamed as the BRAC Environmental WASH Programme. This reflects the planned gradual expansion in scope beyond WASH towards water security and from rural areas towards low income small towns, urban areas and coastal areas. Specific areas of intervention include solid waste management at scale, faecal sludge management, water security and quality, enhanced secondary school programmes and alternative sanitation technologies at scale.

There will be a gradual shift in operating styles from direct service to facilitation, advocacy and joint implementation, learning and monitoring the impact of programmes. Operational partners will include Government at all levels, civil society, the private sector and other NGOs already operating in the same regions. Planning and budgeting will need to be flexible and adapted to specific regional needs, requiring on-going investment in staff and partners capacities.

The strategy builds on ten years of experience in large-scale rural WASH programming. Ongoing support to the rural population will continue and be enhanced, for example, dealing with the well-known challenge of sanitation in difficult hydrogeological settings, and will be integrated into other local BRAC programmes. Staffing will be reduced where earlier programmes have achieved their objectives and appear sustainable within existing institutional structures.

In terms of its financing, a mix is envisaged of grants, joint implementation of programmes with government and multi-lateral institutions and business models that apply market solutions to large scale change. Cost sharing and user payment in some activities will remain a feature of the programme. Direct BRAC support is being applied to programme development and piloting, for example, alternative water services in the coastal region.

Read the draft version of Strategy 2016 – 2020 BRAC Environmental WASH programme : everyone, everywhere, all the time.

See also IRC’s webpage on the BRAC WASH Programme.

The news item was orginally published on the IRC website on 16 January 2015

World Toilet Day: cities can’t wait

On World Toilet Day, IRC presents its ideas how to ‘systemically change sanitation in cities’. A new working paper marks one of the first steps in finding answers on how to reform a sanitation sector, which is failing a large part of the urban population.

Convergence of human and solid waste in a stormwater drain in Mumbai, India (Photo by Giacomo Galli/ IRC).

Convergence of human and solid waste in a stormwater drain in Mumbai, India (Photo by Giacomo Galli/ IRC).

While more people in cities have access to toilets than in villages, both wastewater and solid waste remains largely untreated. Take Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh: 99 percent of the population use toilets but according to Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) a staggering 98 percent of their waste is dumped untreated in the enviroment [1].

On World Toilet Day, IRC presents its ideas how to tackle sanitation in cities. A new working paper “Towards Systemic Change in Urban Sanitation“, marks one of the first steps in finding answers on how to reform a sanitation sector, which is failing a large part of the urban population. The problems in urban sanitation range from lack of facilities to lack of public funding and messy politics in urban governance.The root causes are systemic and technology alone is not the solution.

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India: Big push for small cities

By Prakhar Jain (email) and Aditya Bhol

The run-up to elect a new government brought sanitation to the fore of public conversation in India. Last month, Prime Minister Modi declared sanitation as a national priority, announcing ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, a sanitation programme dedicated to creating clean India by 2019 as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary. Whether or not this plan succeeds may depend on whether it is simply a repackaged programme such as the ‘Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan’ that was focused entirely on building toilets in rural India, or a renewed commitment to improve sanitation in both the rural and urban areas.  As India urbanizes, demand for effective and sustainable sanitation services will increase. India, with 11% of the world’s urban population currently, accounts for 46% of global urban open defecation [i]. While other developing countries like China, Vietnam, and Peru have already achieved open defecation free (ODF) status in urban areas, India still lags behind. The situation is particularly abysmal in small cities (population below a million) where close to 17% of the population defecates in the open as compared to 4% in large cities (population greater than a million) [ii]. The 2011 national census has shown that these small cities represent more than 91% of total urban open defecation in the country. If we are to catch up, the key is to immediately turn our attention towards small and medium-sized cities.

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