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Right to Water and Sanitation in Nigeria

COMMUNIQUE BY CSOs ON THE ROLE OF CIVIL SOCIETY IN PROMOTING RIGHT TO WATER AND SANITATION IN NIGERIA AT THE 2ND NATIONAL WASH FORUM IN KADUNA HELD ON 24th MARCH, 2011

PREAMBLE

We the undersigned Civil Society Organisations with support of Water Aid Nigeria held a side meeting at the 2nd National Water Forum on Thursday March 24, 2011.

The meeting welcomed steps taken so far by the Federal Government of Nigeria to address the numerous issues in the Water and Sanitation Sector.

Specifically, we acknowledge the de-merger of the Ministry of Water Resources from that of Agriculture and Natural Resources and also appreciate the recently organized Presidential Water Summit and the launching of the Water Sector Road Map.

Channeling of additional resources through the MDG debt relief gains to the sector is also a welcome idea

Civil Society Organisations welcome the UN declaration of 28th of July 2010 establishing the Human Right to Water and Sanitation and the recently launched Water Sector Roadmap.

However, we wish to note that the roadmap makes no clear commitments to domesticate the UN Convention on Right to Water and Sanitation.

We also recognize the 1999 Nigerian Constitutional provision in chapter two which provides for Government to meet the social needs of Nigerians which includes water and sanitation

Furthermore, we commend the Federal Government on the sector investments made as this supports the UNDP study which shows that for every hundred naira invested in water and sanitation, 800 naira is returned in economic benefits through increased productivity.

While commending the government for the efforts made so far, we are concerned by the current level of challenges the sector is facing. These include but are not limited to:

  • Poor targeting of the poor and excluded despite increase in sector funding
  • Gap in communication among Government, CSOs and Media
  • Weak Learning and documentation practices which has led to dearth of reliable statistical data in the sector
  • A number of broken down water points, abandoned water projects, equipments and facilities across the country
  • Current efforts at providing water and sanitation which do not keep pace with rapidly increasing  population
  • Weak sector institutions which accounts for poor performance and coordination.
  • Weak capacity in Government, Civil Society and the media on various WASH issues
  • Slow pace of review and harmonization of sector policies and legal framework.

RECOMMENDATIONS

In light of the above, we recommend

  1. Increased transparency and accountability within the water  and sanitation sector
  2. That water and sanitation facilities should be inclusive with special attention to people living with disabilities and gender considerations.
  3. That Civil Society Organisations should be actively involved in the design, implementation and monitoring of the National Water Sector Road map
  4. Improved Access to information through the creation of  CSO/Media liaison offices in the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies
  5. Enhanced Capacity Building programmes and Research collaboration between the National Water Resources Institute, Society for Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN) and other CSOs in the sector
  6. That the Federal Government should finalize the National Water Policy as well as the National Water Resource Management Act taking into consideration the Water Investment Mobilization and Application Guidelines  (WIMAG), the human Right to water and sanitation and Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS).
  7. That communities and Civil Society Organisations should be pro-active in taking ownership and supporting the sustainability of water and sanitation facilities in their localities.

In conclusion while thanking the Federal Government for organizing this forum, it is recommended that the National Water and Sanitation Forum should be made an annual event with active participation of top political office holders and other relevant stakeholders such as the private sector.

SIGNED

  1. NEWSAN,
  2. WASH Media Network
  3. WaterAid and Other CSO

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