Freshwater Action Network
– grassroots influencing on water and sanitation

AfricaSan 2011 briefing

AfricaSan 3 logo

The third African Conference on Sanitation Hygiene will be held on 19-21 July 2011 in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda.

What is AfricaSan?

AfricaSan is a platform for leaders, a showcase for innovation and a participatory audience of politicians, policy makers, financers, planners, practitioners to address the singular challenge of scaling up access to improved sanitation services for more than 400 million people in Africa. The conference is jointly convened and hosted by the government of Rwanda and the African Minister's Council on Water (AMCOW).

What is happening at AfricaSan 2011?

Getting Africa back on track with the MDGs

The main objective of this year's conference is to is to kick-start as well as seek commitment and action for the five year drive to get Africa back on track to meet the sanitation MDG and achieve sustainable universal sanitation coverage in Africa. AFRICASAN 3 aims to support African countries to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for sanitation and hygiene.

Learning exchange

The conference has also been convened to present and exchange knowledge on strategies to overcome problems with implementing large scale sanitation and hygiene programs and strengthen the evidence base for scaling up sanitation and hygiene programs in Africa. The preliminary program includes a thematic learning exchange which draws from key experiences and studies to address critical issues and seminars hosted by agencies or groups of agencies, showcasing their latest thinking and findings.

Who is attending?

The event is a key influencing event with over 500-800 participants expected to attend from 50 countries including many high level decisions makers. Participants include international agencies and delegates, Ministers and other high level decision makers, private sector and government officials, sector specialists, Civil Society Organizations, external support agencies, academia and the media.

Why is ANEW attending?

Civil society Organizations in Africa have been instrumental in contributing to the achievement of the MDG target on Sanitation through monitoring progress, lobbying for action by the government, developing technological options and approaches, and holding their government to account for their actions or inaction.

Africa Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW), the regional representative of Fresh Water Action Network (FAN) global in Africa is one of the key Civil Society networks that has positively contributed to these discussions in different ways.

In November 2008, ANEW together with WaterAid, UNICEF, WSP, AMCOW TAC Eastern Africa and UNHABITAT organized the first Eastern Africa Sanitation Conference in Nairobi Kenya.  The purpose was to provide an opportunity for the practitioners in the WASH sector at country and regional level to peer review progress and share challenges as well as lessons, and to draw strategies on how they can take forward the commitments and plans endorsed by the Ministers and Heads of state.

How will ANEW take part?

Civil society consultation

To draw commitments further and at the continental level, ANEW plans to organize and coordinate a CSO forum to generate commitments from the members on how CSOs will contribute to the attainment of sanitation MDGs ahead of 2015.

The civil society consultation forum  will involve discussions of messages, sharing information from various CSOs, networks and alliances especially those leading on various sanitation initiatives linking them to accelerated attainment of sanitation MDG targets including initiatives such as Sanitation and Water for All (SWA), the Accelerated 5-year drive on sanitation, technology development, monitoring sanitation commitments and exploring other sanitation options such as Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS).

The key objectives of the CSO consultation include:

  • To share information on current developments and initiatives on sanitation and hygiene in Africa.
  • Finalise and agree key messages to other stakeholders specifying what CSOs would like them to prioritise and act upon.
  • Discuss and agree the commitments and contributions CSOs will make towards achievement of sanitation and hygiene targets ahead of 2015.
  • Exhibit some of the success stories as a means of influencing and learning on good practices.

A half day dialogue will be held on 21 July 2011 to finalize and agree on the commitments, which will be presented to the closed session of the ministers for endorsement and action. The session will contribute to the main conference objectives and will align itself with the 5-year Drive for Sanitation.

What happened at previous events?

AfricaSan 2002

The first AfricaSan conference was held in Johannesburg in 2002, and concluded with the identification of the need for an MDG target on sanitation which was later adopted by the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

AfricaSan 2008

In 2008, the second conference AfricaSan+5 was hosted in Durban South Africa by AMCOW and other partners. This coincided with the International Year of Sanitation (IYS), with the aim to further improve access to sanitation in Africa. Furthermore, this conference produced the eThekwini Declaration, which outlines specific commitments on sanitation by African governments, including raising the profile of sanitation, developing national level plans, establishing a specific sanitation budget line and committing at least 0.5% of national GDP to sanitation.

The commitments were later presented to and endorsed by African Union Heads of State in June of 2008, in the Sharm el Sheikh Commitments on accelerating the achievement of water and sanitation goals in Africa. Among others, the Heads of State committed themselves to increase efforts to implement past declarations, raise the profile of sanitation and develop water management.