Freshwater Action Network
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Civil society demands action - Africa Water Week 2009

On 8 November 2009, in Johannesburg, South Africa, civil society members met for a consultation, hosted by the African Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW) to review progress made and identify immediate calls for action during the 2nd African Water Week.

ANEW is delighted that AMCOW has chosen to focus this second Africa Water Week on delivering existing water and sanitation commitments. Although progress has been made and political will to address the African water and sanitation crisis is growing, a vast amount of work remains to be done.

Download WaterAid's traffic light report which tracks progress on the eThekwini commitments on sanitation (PDF 731 Kb)

Many commitments have been made – now it is time for action!

As civil society we will:

  • Continue to create opportunities for citizen engagement to influence policies, practices and programmes
  • Continue to seek innovation, and demonstrate best practices, working alongside communities, governments, international agencies and the private sector to ensure all water and sanitation targets are met
  • Monitor progress on implementation of programmes on commitments and achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on water and sanitation
  • Support the Global Framework for Action – a key opportunity bringing sector actors – donors, governments, civil society and communities – together to address the water and sanitation crisis
  • Continue to lobby our governments and donors for extraordinary action to meet the MDG target on water and sanitation
  • Continue to mobilise and empower communities to achieve recognition of their rights to water and sanitation

While we take responsibility for the above, we recognize that our partnership with donors and governments is critical for achieving substantial, equitable and sustainable growth in access to safe sanitation and hygiene services, and to ensure sound and sustainable management of Africa’s water – our shared resource. We have identified the following actions that urgently need to be undertaken by government leaders and donors:

Financing water and sanitation infrastructure

Sharm el Sheikh and several other declarations committed African leaders to increasing financing in the water and sanitation sector. Thus far, however, there have not been sufficient efforts to actualize these commitments at national levels and there is great disparity in the focus of sector financing favouring large-scale infrastructure.

We call on governments and donors to:

  • Meet existing commitments for financing water and sanitation, in particular 0.5% of national GDP for sanitation
  • Target funding for water and sanitation where the need is greatest for the achievement of the MDGs
  • Provide adequate human, financial, technical and systemic resources and build capacity for implementation of existing commitments
  • Create and adequately support mechanisms to eliminate corruption such as water charters and audits for accountability and transparency to address rampant corruption in the water and sanitation sector

Closing the Sanitation Gap

The eThekwini Declaration and Action Plan prioritized sanitation as a key issue in meeting the MDG targets. However there is a huge access gap – the whole of sub-Saharan Africa is off track on meeting the MDGs, and access is notably lacking in rural areas and urban poor settlements. Local governments are not fully empowered to focus their resources in closing this gap.

We call on governments and donors to:

  • Increase the political priority of sanitation and ensure this priority is reflected in resource allocation and clear implementation mechanisms to achieve the MDGs
  • Scale up successful approaches and promote and implement appropriate technologies.
  • Use and respond to a people-centred, rights-based approach
  • Create and strengthen annual review mechanisms at national level to track progress towards achieving the MDG target on sanitation
  • Set a strong African agenda for the first Global Framework for Action High-Level Meeting on Water and Sanitation in Washington D.C. in April 2010

Climate Change and Adaptations

The effect of climate change on Africa is not fully understood or addressed. Communities adversely affected by climate change are not being empowered or supported financially or technically to prepare or adapt. Furthermore, there is insufficient recognition that the impacts of climate change are largely experienced through the water cycle. There is also a huge imbalance between financing for mitigation and adaptation.

We call on governments and donors to:

  • Build climate resilience by investing in infrastructure to mitigate against floods, droughts and other threats, in partnership with affected stakeholders
  • Increase funding for adaptation, over and above current aid commitments
  • Ensure that adaptation isn’t a separate sector, but is integrated in water and sanitation national planning
  • Ensure African interests, including full funding for mitigation and adaptation measures which include water, as well as meaningful reduction in emissions by developed countries, are represented internationally at COP15 and beyond


Managing Africa's Transboundary Waters

Twenty-five percent of the world’s transboundary waters are in Africa, making this a key aspect of water resource management in Africa.  Even though most river and lake basins have management mechanisms, they are largely ineffective.

We call on governments and donors to:

Design projects that bring maximum benefit to riparian communities
Strengthen mechanisms to involve affected citizens in planning, decision making and monitoring with regards to the management of river and lake basins

Civil society remains committed to our partnership with AMCOW and others and in solidarity with all those taking action towards achieving sanitation and water for all. Thank you.


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