WaterAid in Nigeria organised a side event at the 2nd National Water and Sanitation Forum for Civil Society organisations (CSO) to engage with sector stakeholders on water as a right and how the UN Declaration on water as a right can be domesticated in Nigeria.
The event attracted CSOs, media organisations, policy makers, academics, development partners, sector players and practitioners. Topics covered included Situational Analysis of WASH in Nigeria with the discussion on the role of civil society in promoting the right to WASH in Nigeria. The side event adopted the roundtable and group discussion approach to ensure participation and constructive dialogue.
The objectives of the side event were to sensitise the CSOs on the MDGs targets on water supply and basic sanitation and review the progress made, at the same time broaden and strengthen CSO response in the achievement of the MDG targets for WASH.
The event further equipped civil society to advocate for an improved access to water and sanitation using the Right-Based approach and create a forum for the civil society to coordinate and align its activities with other stakeholders in the sector towards achieving the MDGS target for water and sanitation by 2015.
The welcome address delivered by the Head of Governance centered on the MDG 7, targets 10 and 11, United Nation (UN) resolution on water and sanitation as a right for all, National Roadmap on water resources, Implementation of Water Investment Mobilization and Application Guideline (WIMAG), the roles and responsibilities of CSOs in informing, advocating, Influencing the sector and CSO networking with sector stakeholders to inform the public on their right to water and sanitation.
Three papers were presented focusing on the following:
- Water and sanitation as a human right
- Situational Analysis of WASH in Nigeria
- Positioning Civil Society Network for strategic WASH influencing: Post MDG Summit
The following people were on the panel of discussants:
- Dr. Dogara Bashir National Water Resources institute
- Mr Bade Olokun UNICEF
- Mrs Ada Oko-Williams WaterAid
- Mr Leo Atakpu NEWSAN
- Mr Salihu Federal Ministry of Water Resources
The discussion acknowledged the steps so far taken by the Federal Government to address the enormous issues in the Water and Sanitation Sector. The forum specifically acknowledged the de-merger of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources from Agriculture, the recently launched Water Sector Road Map and the presently level of participation of the civil society in the sector but said a lot need to be done to get Nigeria on track in meeting the MDG target for WASH.
Some of the issues identified were:
- Gaps in the Water Sector roadmap produced by the Ministry of water Resources for water resources/supply.
- Civil Society Organization (CSO) creating a forum for engagement with policy makers and sector stakeholders.
- Relationship between the people, CSO and government
- Data management for decision making: the ongoing works on WASHIMS to implement the National M & E framework.
- The sector financing: CSO role in tracking investments in the sector.
- CSO level of integrity
- CSO participation in the budget circle
- Building capacity for people participation
- Documentation of learning, case studies and lessons in the sector.
10. Resource mobilization strategies for CSO activities.
11. Domestication of the UN Declaration on water and sanitation as a right in Nigeria
However, recommendations to the government through a communiqué that was developed and issued at the end of the event.
In conclusion, participants praised the support of WaterAid in Nigeria in organizing the side meeting. They were of the opinion that such side meeting should be organized regularly.