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Thursday, June 8, 2023

Lagos, USAID seek to implement two-year-old MoU on water management, improved sanitation services 

The plan to jumpstart the implementation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed two years ago between the United States Agency for International Development, (USAID) and the Lagos State Government to improve access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene services is underway.

'Funke Adepoju
Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission, Mrs ‘Funke Adepoju

This was reaffirmed at a delegation meeting with USAID representatives led by Dr. Joachim Ezeji and top government officials of Lagos State lead by the Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission, Mrs ‘Funke Adepoju.

The meeting, which marks the commencement of the implementation process to institutionalise regulation as the major aspect of governance in the state’s water sector, had Dr. Ezeji and Mr James Racicot outlining objectives to enhance water and sanitation services.

“USAID had been monitoring the water sector and is committed to partnering with the Lagos State Government to strengthen the regulatory framework of the State Water Regulatory Commission for the implementation of the ‘Lagos Urban Water and Sanitation and Hygiene Services (LUWASH)’ to improve governance,” said the USAID team lead.

In her remarks, Mrs Adepoju presented the core efforts ongoing to regulate the sector in line with global best practices including the annual “Lagos International Water Conference”, which convenes stakeholders to brainstorm on strategic improvement of the water value chain.

“I commend the work done by USAID worldwide since water is life’s most essential resource. Here in Lagos, we are doing extensive regulatory work to safeguard the health of our people, i therefore seek continued support for technical knowledge transfer to upscale the capacity of the Commission’s staff,” Adepoju stated.

USAID disclosed that it is keen on collaborating with the Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission in improving infrastructure, strengthening its regulatory mandate in water facilities and private sector partners to ensure that citizens can trust their water sources to guarantee their health.

Since access to clean water and adequate sanitation services go together, the partnership with Lagos State, termed “LUWASH”, is  projected for five years, from 2023 to 2028. It is an integrated approach to improve water supply, manage its demand within a strengthened regulated framework to ensure free access to sanitation services for low-income communities.

When fully implemented, the Lagos Urban Water and Sanitation and Hygiene programme will further guarantee the environmental public health status of the people a crucial indicator for sustainable development and economic growth.

In a related development, Mrs Adepoju has been nominated as a member of the newly established International Water Association (IWA) taskforce for an inclusive urban sanitation initiative.

Her nomination into the eight-man taskforce is said to be in recognition of the work being done by the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration.

The taskforce is aimed at reshaping global urban sanitation agenda by providing a stronger direction on the association’s priorities, activities and performance.

The IWA is said to have been engaging member countries on the relevant water sector areas in the past 10 years, focusing on citywide sanitation planning.

The new taskforce will prioritise governance and regulation, inclusion, accessibility, equity and safety in the water sector, using multiple technology-driven solutions for environmental and public health concerns.

Mrs Adepoju said: “Lagos stands to benefit immensely from the project since the foundation has been laid in terms of regulation. This aspect is set to be strengthened by integration into urban water management and sanitation concepts.”

The move, which is to reshape the global urban sanitation agenda by driving inclusive sanitation goals, also has representatives of Ghana, Senegal, Zambia, South Africa, India and Bangladesh.

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