African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) on Thursday, September 23, 2021 pledged commitment to support Nigeria in actualising its Sanitation And Water For All (SWA) commitment to improve sanitation and hygiene by 2025.
AMCOW Acting Executive Secretary, Mr Thomas Banda, said this while receiving members of the Society for Water and Sanitaion (NEWSAN) in Abuja.
The Nigerian Government, through the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, had in 2019 pledged a creation of a $122 billion Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) fund to meet the country target.
Banda urged member states to align their national sanitation policies in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.
He said that the newly released African Sanitation Policy Guidelines (ASPG) was a continental guideline that prescribed the benchmark on what a sanitation policy should look like.
“We urge our member states to sit back and review their sanitation policies that are already in place, From our statistics, most of these sanitation policies that were reviewed were done during the MDGs.
“But now that we are talking about the SDGs, for us to achieve the SDG 6 on accelerated access to sanitation, we really need to make sure that these sanitation policies are very much focused on the SDGs and not the MDGs.
“We also noted that there are quiet a lot of gaps in existing policies in the countries, a lot of countries do not have sanitation policy guidelines at all.
“So, we developed the continental ASPG to provide some guidelines to member states, so that they can come up with their own tailor-made sanitation policies,” Bandan said.
He commended NEWSAN on its activities towards supporting the country in scaling up access to improved sanitation and hygiene and pledged to continue to advocate continentally.
He noted that AMCOWs mandate was continental and Nigeria’s mandate was just one out of its 55 member states, saying the continental progress report done annually showed that Nigeria had some positive trends that showed it was moving in the right trajectory.
“We have heard about the Clean Nigeria campaign, it is a very good initiative and many other indicators that shows that it is moving well, but just like any other member states, there are still some challenges.
“A lot of investment gaps, if we are to achieve our water and sanitation related goals in the SDGs, we still have a lot of things to achieve by closing the investment gaps.
“It has been quiet a positive visit, ideas have been exchanged, AMCOW as a continental organisation can put in a voice to member states’ aspirations domestically”.
Mr Benson Attah, NEWSAN’s National Coordinator, said the visit was an advocacy to support government’s effort and track commitments made to the Sanitation and Water for All in 2019 which it proposed the establishment of a WASH fund for the country.
“We see it as something and it will also help to accelerate the achievement of the national goal to attain open defecation-free target by 2025 and also contribute to the sustainable development goals by 2030.
“Going by the resources that the government projected to this is at $122 billion, we know that most efforts to scale up WASH in the country is being piloted by the Federal Government, which shouldn’t be, most states are not forthcoming with regards to water and sanitation implementation in their states.
“Nigeria has just four years to achieve its target, out of the 774 LGAs, we currently have 62 that are open defecation free, if we continue to move at this pace, we will not achieve our goals.
“We see the need to mobilise stakeholders to support the establishment of the WASH fund and also make it possible to have access to it to implement water and sanitation projects and also make contributions.”
Attah noted that although AMCOW coordinates member states to accelerate WASH in the continent, its presence in Nigeria could be better felt through advocacy to make Nigeria meet its country target.
He said the group would continue to strengthen partnership with other stakeholders to support the country in its efforts for water and hygiene promotion scale up.
By Tosin Kolade