National Coordinator, Society for Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN), Mr Benson Attah, on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, called for the integration of climate-resilience measures in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programmes in the country.
Attah made this call at the ongoing two-day Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue on the Triple Crises (Climate, Health and Economic Recovery) in Abuja.
He said that the triple crises were already happening, even as the world struggled to recover from the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the global economy.
He said sustainable access to safe water, improved sanitation and hygiene contributed to improvements in public health, nutrition, girl’s education and poverty reduction, thereby promoting food production and income generation.
He said integrating climate change into the WASH sector would reduce the threat reflected in flooding, loss of water sources due to decreasing rainfall and increasing demand for water.
According to him, strengthening of WASH sector Policy and commitments will bring about proper integration of WASH into Climate Change, Economic recovery and Improved Citizens health and service delivery.
“The time has come when the ministers from Ministries of Environment, Health and Finance should commit to prioritise investment in WASH service delivery, this will provide more value for everyone.’’
“I wish to seize this opportunity to recommend that, climate resilience measures should be integrated in to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in order to reduce climate risk.
“I call on the Nigerian government to consider the need to revisit the National Climate Change Adaption Plan and Nationally Determined Contribution to ensure that WASH issues are included in these important documents.’’
Also speaking, the Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, said experts described the climate challenge as the biggest health threat facing humanity.
This, he noted, was affecting the social and environmental determinants of health such as clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter.
“In cognisance of the key role of WASH in stemming the tide of these triple crises, my Ministry set up a National WASH Emergency Response Committee in the wake of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.
“These platforms helped us to provide the needed support to states and ensure that WASH services were being prioritised across the country.’’
Adamu, represented by Mrs Chizoma Opara, said the ministry would continue to engage all stakeholders for a country where everyone has sustainable access to safe WASH services and its benefits.
Contributing, Dr Yemisi Akpa noted that access to WASH would reduce climate vulnerability, enhance food security and also improve productivity of the populace.
Speaking on the theme, “Role of WASH in addressing economic, climate and health crises’’, Akpa said poor access to WASH had linkages with floods, droughts and water scarcity.
Others are; poor agricultural yield, conflicts, displacements and humanitarian issues.
She however stressed the need for all stakeholders to invest in WASH programmes towards solving challenges in the health, economy and climate change sectors.
By Tosin Kolade