April 23, 2012The High-Level Meeting of the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) partnership ended on a high note on Friday: pledges from developing countries taking part in the meeting could provide over 48.5 million people in South Asia and 85.4
million people in Africa with access to water and sanitation. To realize these commitments the governments need to strive to
increase access to water by 5% and sanitation by 7% in their countries
over the next two years.
New pledges could provide water and sanitation to 135 million people
USAID Administrator Raj Shah (second from left) with WaterAid staff Barbara Frost, Lisa Schechtman and Apollos Nwafor (l-r).
WaterAid/ Dermot Tatlow/ Panos Pictures
Another key moment was the announcement by USAID
Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah that the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has joined the SWA Partnership.
USAID and the US
Department of State are committing a total of $1 million to the World
Bank's Water and Sanitation Program.
The investment will support the
SWA-led National Planning for Results Initiative, which promotes
national planning efforts related to sanitation and water and focuses on
building local capacity to plan, implement and monitor successful and
sustainable safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programs.
The economic gains from investing in sanitation and water are estimated
at $170 billion per year.
The United States Government considers sanitation and water and our related partnering activities to be a critical component of our overall international development assistance effort.
- Raj Shah, USAID Administrator
David Winder, CEO of WaterAid, America said, “This was a great day for
the SWA partnership. We are so pleased that the US has officially
recognized the importance of this group of countries and partners
working to improve access to safe water and sanitation to all. We are
certain that an increased commitment by the US will bring further weight
to the initiative.”
In a statement Administrator Shah said, “the
United States Government considers sanitation and water and our related
partnering activities to be a critical component of our overall
international development assistance effort."
"We look forward
to maximizing the potential of this partnership, which brings together
such a range of tools, experience, and approaches. Working together, we
can not only reach full coverage, but we can also do it in the most
effective, efficient, and collaborative way," he added.
thrilled that USAID has joined SWA,” said Lisa Schechtman, Head of
Policy and Advocacy for WaterAid, America. “This is not only a concrete
demonstration of US political will to end the water and sanitation
crises, but it adds a tool to the US government’s emphasis on integrated
approaches to global health and development, such as the Global Health
Initiative and the new Every Child Deserves a 5th Birthday campaign.
Australian government also announced that it would join the SWA
partnership, and the UK’s Secretary of State for International
Development. Andrew Mitchell, told delegates that the UK will double the
number of people it intends to reach with water, sanitation and hygiene
to 60 million by 2015.
The lives of 2.5 million people around
the world would be saved each year if every person had access to safe
water and adequate sanitation, according to a new report
week by WaterAid.
The report, Saving lives,
(PDF 190KB) highlights that if
governments meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target to halve
the proportion of the world’s population without sanitation by 2015,
the lives of 400,000 children under age five will be saved worldwide –
over 100,000 in Nigeria alone. Realizing universal access will require
concerted and coordinated efforts—and political will—through bilateral
and multilateral donor channels and domestic efforts worldwide.
Commitments made at last week’s SWA High-level Meeting are a critical
piece of this puzzle.
For interview requests or additional information, please contact Susannah Gold, Media Officer, WaterAid, on + 1 917 207 5375 / firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information and news about the event:www.waterworks.me/hlm2012mediawww.sanitationandwaterforall.org/hlm2012virtualbriefingpack.html