Stakeholders in the water and sanitation subsector have called governments across Africa to set aside a minimum of 5 per cent allocation from their annual budgets for water and sanitation programmes.
The call was made at the just concluded Africa Water and Sanitation Week Conference in Widhoek, Namibia.
The continents’ governments had in 2003 pledged to commit at least 5% of budgets for water and sanitation and the e-Thekwini commitment to establish public sector budget allocations of a minimum of 0.5% of GDP.
This is even as it called on governments and the private sector to significantly increase investments in climate-resilient and inclusive water and sanitation services and infrastructure and the continued support of development banks and partners is cited as a critical enabler.
The Conference which was convened recently virtually by the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) and the African Union Commission (AUC) and hosted by the Government of Republic of Namibia provided a platform to over 3000 registered participants for dialogue and knowledge exchange to advance the water and sanitation agenda in Africa.
A communiqué after the conference called for the strengthening of policy, legal, institutional and regulatory environments by ensuring context specificity; intra- and inter-sectoral coherency.
The statement also calls for upholding the principles of universal social inclusion and equity while it further enjoins governments to raise the profile of social accountability and transparency, noting the vitality of recognizing women and youth as agents for the planning and implementation of the water, sanitation and hygiene agenda in Africa.
The statement notes that it is imperative to develop the requisite human resources capacity especially among the women and youth for sustainable services delivery.
On water supply, sanitation and hygiene services governments are called to seize the opportunity of heightened awareness of ensuring water availability, and improved sanitation and hygiene services provision.
The conference further called for keeping up the fight against COVID-19, bringing down the over-all disease burden and preventing future pandemics. It is imperative that pandemic preparedness and response capabilities are strengthened, and the profile of sanitation and hygiene is raised.
The statement calls on governments and stakeholders to address the challenges faced in the access of reliable and complete data in the water, sanitation and hygiene. The need to rethink how data on hygiene practices is captured and utilized to inform decision-making and improve sanitation and hygiene programming, and delivery has been emphasized.
It pointed out the need for the prioritization of investment for monitoring, evaluation, knowledge, information management and learning to consolidate evidence-based and timely decision making at all levels. It further encourages African governments to foster research and application of knowledge and innovations to inform sector interventions targeted at improving water management and sanitation services provision.