Madam Cecilia Abena Dapaah, Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, calls for inclusive platforms for multi-stakeholder dialogue on interconnected technical, political, social, and financial systems that influence the delivery of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) services.
That, she said could stimulate creative problem-solving, promote the scaling-up of innovative ideas, and mobilise collective action towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Madam Dapaah made the call at the opening of a three-day maiden “All Systems Go Africa”, symposium, on Wednesday, in Accra.
The symposium, organised by the Ministry, IRC and UNICEF, is on: “Uniting systems thinking with technical expertise and political leadership to accelerate the vision of universal access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.”
The Minister said the symposium was a direct result of lessons learnt from a similar symposium held in the Netherlands in 2019 and the need to come together as experts to discuss the issues in other to find the best way of addressing the challenges facing the WASH sector.
She said the symposium had come at the right time because having applied all the available strategies in delivering WASH service to the populace, there still existed gaps that needed to be filled, hence the need to seek and adopt other effective strategies that would help in addressing the gaps.
Madam Dapaah said the symposium was aimed at identifying the current best practices in WASH systems, develop skills and tools for moving from theory to the implementation of the systems approach and to elaborate on a shared agenda for taking the learnings forward in Sub-Saharan Africa.
It is also to help re-emphasise the need to strengthen continental efforts and collaboration in managing water and sanitation services and sustaining the gains made.
She said it was expected that participants would share their experiences of how they were using systems to address persistent challenges in WASH, and how they measured systemic improvements.
Mr Juste Nansi, Director IRC’s Africa Regional Programme, and IRC Burkina Faso Country Director, said while only three out of 46 countries were currently on track to achieving universal coverage of at least basic drinking water by 2030, only two out of the 48 countries were also currently on track to achieving universal coverage of at least basic sanitation by 2030, and in some countries, coverage was decreasing.
He noted that the persistent bottlenecks of progress could be attributed to weak institutional arrangements and legal framework from managements, inadequate data, financial arrangements, human capacity, and private sector participation in financing, and low public capacity to finance required investments.
Mr Nansi said the symposium would, therefore, provide Africa the opportunity to kick-start a continental agenda that would focus efforts towards achieving effective and resilient governance, management, operating systems in water sanitation and hygiene.
IRC is an international think-thank actively building stronger water, sanitation, and hygiene systems- from the bottom up and the top down.
It supports countries to build strong local and national services underpinned by resilient systems that transform lives and build equity, justice, and opportunity for all.
UNICEF is dedicated to advancing the rights and development of children and their families across 190 countries in the world, particularly the most vulnerable and excluded.
In water, sanitation, and hygiene, UNICEF works to support government to identify challenges, develop evidence-based policies and approaches to address the challenges.