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Africa’s Water, Finance Ministers to meet over WASH MDGs

The High level forum for Water and Sanitation ended last night in  Ouagadougou, Burkina with the thirty three participating African Government delegations deciding to convene another meeting of African Ministers of Water and Finance for the purposes of working out how the Sharm el –sheik commitments on water and sanitation will be implemented in African countries.

The Sharm El-Sheikh commitments were agreed between African heads of state at the AfricannUnion Summit on Water and Sanitation in 2008. The decisions made at that summit form a commitment to accelerate activity to reach the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets on water and sanitation across the whole African Continent, in recognition that many countries are not on track to meet the MDG target of reducing By half the proportion of people with access to drinking water and sanitation by 2015.

However, the commitments have largely been unimplemented.

Presently, 342million people in Africa are presently without safe drinking water while the population without sanitation has reached an estimated 583 million. Only twenty six of the 54 countries in Africa are on track to meet the MDG drinking water target but only six countries are on track to meet the sanitation target.

But rising from the four day meeting, participants at the Ouagadougou forum recommended new approaches and actions to turn the tide around in Africa’s march to meet the WASH MDGs. The forum recommended that local actions and solutions must be relevant to the African context, evidence based models of sanitation financing should be promoted, pro poor business approaches should be enhanced, the WSA should play a leading role in addressing the gap between policy and practice, and research should be linked to community priorities and demand.

The forum also decided that a multi sectoral reflective Think tank should be instituted by the WSA to extend the scope of knowledge sharing and identify emerging needs in the sector, and member states and local authorities should implement the 1% Water Solidarity Finance initiative.

The meeting was attended by Ministers and high level Government officials from thirty three African countries, 25 members states of the WSA, and about 350 participants drawn from the civil society, media, development partners and private sector.

Organisers of the conference, the Centre for Water Supply and Sanitation (CREPA) launched a new strategic plan and  officially changed its name to Water and Sanitation for All (WSA) and unveiled a new logo as part of its rebranding exercise.

eWASH exclusively reported the impending name change, two days ago.

The High level forum for Water and Sanitation was convened to access the progress towards meeting the sanitation and water MDGs by African countries and how this can be accelerated.

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