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African Ministers to support, track Nigeria’s WASH commitment



African Ministers to support, track Nigeria’s WASH commitment

By Tosin Kolade

The African Council of Ministers Responsible for Water (AMCOW) on Thursday pledged to support Nigeria in delivering on its Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) commitment to improve sanitation and hygiene by 2025.

AMCOW Acting Executive Secretary Mr. Thomas Banda said this when receiving members of the Water and Sanitation Society (NEWSAN) in Abuja.

The Nigerian News Agency reports that the Nigerian government, through the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, pledged in 2019 to create a $ 122 billion fund for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) to achieve the country’s goal.

Banda urged member states to align their national sanitation policies with the sustainable development goals.

He said the recently published African Sanitation Policy Guidelines (ASPG) was a continental guideline that prescribed the reference on what a sanitation policy should look like.

“We urge our member states to sit down and review their sanitation policies that are already in place. According to our statistics, most of these sanitation policies that have been reviewed have been reviewed during the MDGs.

“But now that we are talking about the SDGs, in order for us to achieve the six SDGs on accelerated access to sanitation, we really need to make sure that these sanitation policies are very SDG-focused and not the MDGs.

“We also noted that there are many gaps in existing policies in countries, many countries do not have sanitation policy guidelines at all.

“So we developed the continental ASPG to provide guidelines to member states, so that they can develop their own tailor-made sanitation policies,” Bandan said.

He congratulated NEWSAN for its activities aimed at supporting the country in improving access to improved sanitation and hygiene and pledged to continue to advocate at the continental level.

He noted that AMCOW’s mandate was continental and Nigeria’s mandate was only one of 55 member states, saying the continental progress report drawn up each year showed that Nigeria had positive trends that showed that he was moving in the right direction.

“We have heard about the Clean Nigeria campaign, it is a very good initiative and many other indicators that show that it is progressing well, but like any other Member State there are still challenges.

“Many investment gaps, if we are to meet our water and sanitation goals in the SDGs, we still have a long way to go in closing the investment gaps.

“The visit was calm and positive, ideas were exchanged, AMCOW as a continental organization can make the voice of member states’ aspirations heard at national level.”

Mr. Benson Attah, national coordinator of NEWSAN, said the visit was a plea to support government efforts and follow up on commitments made to sanitation and water for all in 2019, which proposed the creation of a fund WASH for the country.

“We see it as something and it will also help accelerate the achievement of the national goal of reaching the goal of no open defecation by 2025 and will also contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

“Based on the resources the government has earmarked for this is $ 122 billion, we know that most efforts to scale up WASH in the country are being led by the federal government, which shouldn’t be the case,” most states are not ready when it comes to implementing water and sanitation in their states.

“Nigeria has only four years to reach its target, out of the 774 LGAs, we currently have 62 that are open defecation free, if we keep moving at this rate we will not meet our Goals.

“We see the need to mobilize stakeholders to support the establishment of the WASH fund and also to allow access to implement water and sanitation projects and also to make contributions.”

Attah noted that while AMCOW is coordinating member states to accelerate WASH on the continent, its presence in Nigeria could be best felt through advocacy for Nigeria to meet its national target.

He said the group will continue to strengthen the partnership with other stakeholders to support the country in its efforts to intensify water and hygiene promotion.

Source: NAN

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