April 21, 2010
Jonathan Rich writes from Washington, DC, where the first ever High Level Meeting on Sanitation and Water is being held, at which ministers and policy makers from over 30 countries will have the opportunity to commit to financial and political action which would begin to reverse years of neglect. The meeting is part of an international ‘Sanitation and Water for All’ initiative being launched this Friday in Washington, DC prior to the World Bank spring meetings.
WaterAid blogs from the High Level Meeting on Sanitation and Water
April 24 2010, 6.45pm
Policy guru: "We got commitments for action because of you"
Henry Northover, Head of Policy for WaterAid, gives his take on the
outcomes of the High-Level Meeting on Sanitation and Water directly
from Washington DC, and the role of global campaigning in achieving
April 23 2010, 4.30pm
Today we released an incredible image of
the White House to mark the High Level Meeting.
Take a look at it in full here
You can help us get this message out – please help us share this image with
friends and family via Twitter and Facebook or by simply sending an email!
For Twitter please go to
and use the green
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and #hlm. You can customize the message as you wish! The pic is also on
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the page link
with the message "Looks like the White House has had a
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Thanks for your help!
It's a powerful image, and makes me wonder whether leaders
would take more notice of the global water and sanitation crisis if it was in
their own backyard?
Today ministers and donors from over 30 developed and developing countries
have the opportunity to begin get rid of this
scandal that kills over 4,000 children every single day and affects the health,
education and economic prosperity of millions more. To follow updates over the week, please follow the
End Water Poverty
April 23 2010, 12.30pm
Yesterday saw Ministers of Water and Sanitation, Environment and Health from
over 30 countries across Africa and Asia gather for an all day meeting to work
out what they can do better to get sanitation and water to their citizens, and
agree how they want donor countries to support them too ahead of the High Level
It was an inspiring meeting, where Ministers, donors and campaigners alike
called for strong action to be taken:
Chairman of WaterAid partner, the African Civil Society Network on Water and
Sanitation (ANEW), Prof. Edward Kairu, gave an inspiring speech at the start of
the day, urging Ministers to act strongly and speak loudly
The World Bank called on water and sanitation to be put at center stage in
The World Health Organisation called for action on getting more money to the
poorest countries and people
The Prime Minister of Ghana (via his Water Minister) said "we cannot achieve
our vision of a better Ghana without delivering on water & sanitation"
South African Water and Environment Minister Buyelwa Sonjica said: "Action
is needed yesterday. We should be ashamed that our people live in such
conditions. It's further evidence of a growing rift between rich and poor. This
is a human rights issue."
In just a few hours the historic High Level Meeting will begin, giving
Ministers and policy makers from over 30 developed and developing countries the
opportunity to commit to financial and political action to tackle this forgotten
Ministers can deliver real results if the right decisions get made. Decisions
that could stop millions of children dying from diarrhea, free up hospital
beds, give girls in particular the chance to get an education and mothers the
opportunity to earn a living instead of having to walk hours to fetch water.
Our campaigners and supporters have worked hard to ensure that the voices of
the billions without access to water and sanitation are heard today – let's hope
they don’t fall on deaf ears.
April 21, 2010, 3:45pm
I’m writing today from the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC at the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) press briefing, which is going on as I type. The main purpose of today’s briefing is really two-fold; to release the latest
UN-Water Global Annual Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking Water (GLAAS)
and brief journalists on the first annual High Level Meeting of Sanitation and Water for All, which will take place this coming Friday, April 23.
Clarissa Brocklehurst, UNICEF’s Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene is moderating today’s event and has just finished speaking.
Clarissa helped put today’s activities in context, explaining that with the release of the GLAAS report we can clearly see the challenges we face in terms of safe water and sanitation. Aid commitments to the sector are falling, this aid continues to be poorly targeted and the number of people worldwide without access to sanitation continues to grow.
So what can the international community do to confront this problem?
Friday’s High Level Meeting (HLM) will, for the first time, bring together developing country ministers responsible for water and sanitation with finance ministers and other donor representatives.
The HLM will provide an opportunity for these various stakeholders, along with UN agencies and representatives of civil society (including both WaterAid and End Water Poverty) to discuss the recommendations of the GLAAS report; greater political prioritization for sanitation and drinking water, better resource targeting, strengthening of systems, and development of stronger partnerships at all levels.
What’s quite nice about today’s event is it includes the participation of colleagues from both Africa and Asia. Too often, briefings of this nature held in Washington, New York or London don’t include the perspectives and experiences of our colleagues from the south.
Our Bangladeshi End Water Poverty colleague Yakub Hossien, from the Freshwater Action Network South Asia (FANSA) did a great job of explaining the support of citizens worldwide in addressing the water and sanitation crisis, recounting for the attendees the success of the World’s Longest Toilet Queue, which took place in over 80 countries on World Water Day. Too many governments still do not appreciate the political support they could realize if they staked out more visible leadership roles in addressing these problems.
While the press conference is wrapping up, it's good to see from a quick check online that esteemed climate and environmental writer Andrew Revkin has covered today’s activities on
the New York Times website
Take a quick read and follow this space for further developments in Washington this week!