Water for the Poor Act Report
WaterAid America and the Natural Resources Defense Council have produced a joint response to the 2008 US State Department Report to Congress (“Report”) on the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act (PL 109-121).
Download our Report response now
This is the third annual report as required by the Act on the steps taken by the US Government to assist developing countries to achieve access to safe water and sanitation.
Aid for water and sanitation needs to be targeted to the poorest communities.
Credit: WaterAid / Caroline Penn
While we commend this year’s Report for being more comprehensive than previous ones, we continue to have concerns regarding the limited transparency of data, failure to target resources to areas of “greatest need,” and the lack of a complete strategic framework to guide US support to this important area.
In our joint response, we have put forward a list of recommendations for the new Administration and Congress.
The global water crisis statistics are grim:
Nearly one billion people suffer from a lack of access to safe drinking water
2.5 billion people (nearly 40% of the world’s population) have no access to adequate sanitation.
This is the world’s single largest cause of illness, causing the deaths of nearly 5,000 children a day from diarrheal disease.
For years, the most significant barriers to making real progress to address this urgent situation have been a lack of strategic thinking and political will. The Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act is an important legislative vehicle for overcoming these hurdles.
Addressing the world’s water and sanitation crisis in a meaningful way is a critical fist step towards improving the lives of billions of the world’s poorest people and would send a powerful message to the international community that the United States is serious about revitalizing and reenergizing its foreign assistance and development programs.
Download the WaterAid America / NRDC Response to the Water for the Poor Act 2008 Report to Congress
Visit the US State Department website to download the Water for the Poor Act 2008 Report to Congress
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In light of our analysis of this year’s USG report to Congress, we urge the Secretary of State to consider the following recommendations:
Commission an independent assessment
of all foreign assistance allocated to the drinking water and sanitation sector since 2005, across all USG agencies and programs, to include both past expenditure and future commitments.
Strengthen the focus of US foreign assistance to this sector on the poorest
and most vulnerable populations; invest in building the capacity of relevant USAID missions, if necessary, in order to achieve this goal;
Work urgently to develop the USG strategy for drinking water and sanitation
required by the Act, to include plans to focus on areas of “greatest need”, strengthen co-ordination across USG agencies and with local organizations, and increase aid effectiveness;
Develop a monitoring and evaluation framework to assess the impact of US foreign assistance
to the drinking water and sanitation sector; integrate monitoring and evaluation into the USG strategy development process with dedicated funds; participate actively in the principal international monitoring efforts, specifically the Global Annual Assessment on Sanitation and Drinking Water (GLAAS).
Photo: WaterAid / Jenny Matthews