“Water for Sustainable Growth” topped the conference’s agenda this year
The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC)’s participation and partnerships at this year’s World Water Week conference in Stockholm reinforced the council’s achievements and commitments to the WASH sector.
The 26th annual conference’s theme for this year was “Water for Sustainable Growth”, gathering over 3000 participants from around the world in a programme of more than 140 events from August 28th to September 2nd.
The WSSCC delegation present at the week-long forum were Alison Bradley, Jenny Karlsen, David Shimkus and Jo Powles-Brown.
WSSCC’s work in Menstrual Hygiene Management was highly praised by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Authority (SIDA) and its Director General, Charlotte Petri was spotted wearing its pledge bracelet at the opening plenary session of the conference.
The council collaborated with the Global Citizen social action platform to produce an event on Monday, August 29th at the Haymarket Scandic Hotel on the issue of political commitments, and accountability towards WASH.
Speakers included Dick Van Ginhoven, Senior Advisor for Water and Sanitation at the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ambassador Jan Olsson from Sweden; Jennifer Sara from the World Bank; Torgny Holmgren, Director of the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI); WSSCC’s Alison Bradley; Cheryl Hicks from the Toilet Board Coalition; and a video message from the Honourable Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia.
In her remarks, Alison Bradley, WSSCC’s Media and Public Affairs Officer mentioned that “since 2014, WSSCC has worked closely with Global Citizen as part of a broad and innovative effort to increase the size of the political and financial commitment towards the WASH Sector.”
“Along with Global Citizen, WSSCC has engaged a number of national partners ranging from Nepal to India to the Netherlands to train the spotlight on sanitation and hygiene, and to secure political and financial commitments towards improving WASH,” she said.
During the event, Global Citizen presented both the governments of Sweden and the Netherlands with petitions from over 60,000 global citizens, demanding accountability for the commitments that the two countries have made towards WASH.
As the self-declared first feminist government, the Government of Sweden promised to provide 60 million people with improved sanitation by 2030 and to deepen its commitment to the water and sanitation crisis, which disproportionately affects women and girls.
Similarly, the Government of the Netherlands made a commitment to provide 30 million people with safe water and 50 million people with sanitation over the coming 15 years.
With this, as well as the country’s’ membership on the High Level Panel on Water, the Netherlands is providing strong support to the global water and sanitation agenda, as well as to the Sustainable Development Goals.
“To achieve these governments ambitious targets, it is essential that we prioritize direct implementation based on tried and true methods of behavior change. This is the only way to achieve results at scale,” Bradley added.
The Global Poverty Project (GPP) released at the event the newest WASH Accountability Report going over the progress from 25 announcements on Global Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 on water, sanitation and hygiene.
WSSCC and its Global Sanitation Fund (GSF)’s work and impact in countries like Nepal, Madagascar and their partnerships are highlighted in the report along with other global efforts.
Gathering and engaging high-level donors and friends
WSSCC convened a breakfast of high-level donors and friends of WSSCC to meet with the Honourable Minister of WASH, Mr. Roland Ravatomanga on September 1st.
The objective of this meeting was to provide an update on sanitation and hygiene developments in Madagascar, including to discuss how the GSF supported programmes integrate approaches to address issues such as sustainability and equality and non-discrimination in alignment with the 2030 Agenda.
The Minister of WASH was accompanied by his General Director, Mr. Joli Solphi Hamelo as well as the Chair of the GSF Programme Coordinating Mechanism (PCM), Michele Rasamision. The breakfast was also attended by representatives from the Netherlands, USA, Norway, Sweden, Australia, Ethiopia and Water Aid.
Following the WSSCC-organized meeting, Dick van Ginhoven, Senior Advisor for Water and Sanitation at the Netherlands’ Minister of Foreign Affairs, called upon the international community to consider the business case of Madagascar.
“I challenge all of us to look at it to look at how we can finance it,” he was quoted as saying in his closing remarks at the session on Leveraging Domestic Resources to Remove Financial Bottleneck in WASH.
“It is our responsibility as international community to try to understand how we can respond.”
Throughout the week at Stockholm, WSSCC participated in a number of sessions on private sector engagement on WASH.
David Shimkus, Director of WSSCC’s GSF and Partnerships Development and Resource Mobilization officer Jenny Karlsen took part of the Toilet Board Coalition Bi-annual General Meeting to discuss private sector engagement in sanitation through innovative solutions including impact investment.
Along with the UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate, as well as a number of WASH sector players, the council worked with companies to showcase how global sustainable development goals can translate into local business.
Discussions centred around the need for companies to understand the linkages of their core business with the SDGs, and understand the role that they have to play in driving the sustainable development agenda forward.
Bilateral meetings were also held with current donors to discuss the development of WSSCC’s new Strategic Plan for the period of 2017 to 2020.
WSSCC has also participated in the 25th UN Water Meeting on August 26th along with other UN organizations and partners that work on SDG 6. The follow up and implementation of the 2030 agenda through more ownership, collaboration and multi-stakeholder approaches was high on the agenda.
To support these efforts, UN water with partners will prepare a synthesis report on SDG 6 due to be launched in 2018 drawing on other reporting mechanisms and informing on relevant global SDG processes.
Sustainable Sanitation Alliance
The council has also participated and contributed to the 22nd edition of the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) meeting on August 27th. The meeting was hosted by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) together with the SuSanA secretariat.
Sailas Nyareza, WSSCC’s Learning Systems Officer presented at the meeting thematic discussions on two major themes, Sanitation and Hygiene Behaviour Change Programming and Private Sector Engagement in Sanitation and hygiene.
In addition, Nyazera showcased experiences on Menstrual Hygiene Management and the Sustainable Development Goals – Policy and Practice in South Asia and West Africa.
Go to sec. 7:41:15 to watch the presentation on “Menstrual Hygiene Management and the Sustainable Development Goals – Policy and Practice in South Asia and West Africa”.
WSSCC and SuSanA are currently working on a joint interactive sector events calendar contributing towards sector harmonised knowledge and learning systems.
Organized annually by SIWI, World Water Week is a focal point for discussing the world’s water issues. This year, a special focus was on the most relevant topics relating to “Water for Sustainable Growth” such as Financing, 2030 Agenda, Integrity, Gender issues, Climate Change, Energy, Sanitation, Food, Conflict Resolution and Water Management.
“Water is a beautiful connecting, enabling condition for the entire sweep of the SDGs,” said Dhesigen Naidoo, CEO, Water Research Commission, India at the closing plenary session on September 2nd, adding that women leadership inspired him at the week-long conference and that gender needs to continue to be on the agenda as the lack of sanitation for girls is a critical issue.
SIWI Director Torgny Holmgren also announced that “Water and Waste – Reduce and Reuse” will be the theme of next conference in 2017.
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