AfricaSan: moving sanitation up the priority ladder

Date: 9th November 2010

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The second African Conference on Sanitation and Hygiene – AfricaSan+5 (http://www.africasan2008.net) – took place from 18 to 21 February 2008 in Durban, South Africa. WSSCC had been actively involved in the preparations for the Conference, and was present with an exhibition stand and active participation in a number of sessions and events. Among others, WSSCC members from Madagascar, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Burkina Faso presented their national WASH coalition experiences, and Secretariat staff made presentations on the Global WASH Campaign and the Global Sanitation Fund. As a first, the Secretariat also organised a special side-event for WSSCC members attending the conference, to update them on WSSCC business and ask for their feedback.

Almost six years after the first AfricaSan conference, it became clear that sanitation has definitely moved up the priority ladder in recent years, even though achievement of the sanitation MDG might still be a long way off for most African countries.

With over 30 Government Ministers and 600 delegates in attendance, the event resulted in some firm commitments. For one, the delegates agreed on an Action Plan that articulates the critical actions to be further developed, funded and monitored by 2010 in order to put Africa “back on track” to meet the sanitation MDG. The African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) was mandated to monitor progress against the national plans and report on progress during the next AfricaSan meeting in 2010. At the conclusion, the Ministers signed the eThekwini Declaration in which, among other undertakings, they pledged to create separate budget lines for sanitation and hygiene in their countries and to aim to commit at least 0.5 percent of GDP to sanitation.

The event also saw the launch of the AfricaSan Awards, an award-scheme for special achievements in sanitation and hygiene, to be administered by WSSCC.

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