By Asmau Ahmad
The African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) is to launch the African Sanitation Policy Guidelines (ASPG) to improve sanitation governance and accelerate access to safe sanitation and hygiene services by 2030.
The ASPG was developed in close consultation with the member states of the African Union and sector stakeholders. It aims to guide African countries to improve or develop sanitation policies and implementation strategies to strengthen the enabling environment and improve sanitation governance across the continent.
AMCOW Sanitation Project Manager, Mr Kitchinme Bawa, in a virtual meeting with journalists, noted that the ASPG launch would be an opportunity to create awareness among wider stakeholders to generate the necessary momentum required for adoption.
According to him, an assessment of sanitation policies and strategies conducted by AMCOW in member states found that many sanitation policies were unclear, fragmented and with majority not having any stand-alone policy on sanitation service chain.
He expressed worry that sanitation policies were inadequate and was basically developed around the concluded Millennium Development Goals, saying with this new guideline in place, the trend would be reversed.
“Many countries have little or nonexistent policies for sanitation, most of them were usually merged with national water policies. While increasing attention is being given to sanitation and to strengthening the enabling environment, many African countries still lack clear, up-to-date, and enforceable sanitation policies and comprehensive laws.
“Gaps in laws and policies negatively impacts sanitation service delivery across African countries. That is why we need the African Sanitation Policy Guidelines to give a direction to meeting the Ngor commitments and the Sustainable Development Goal six on water and sanitation,” he said.
Mr Bawa said sanitation policy coordination platform would be set up to allow minimum standards in countries, adding that extensive stakeholders’ engagement had been done for demand creation in implementation of the guidelines.
He noted that the media had a huge role to play to increase public understanding of the ASPG content and value addition in shaping the sanitation landscape and enabling environment of the African continent.
The launch, slated for June 10, will draw High-level participants from heads of states; government officials, ministers, donors, the media, civil society organisations among others.
It would be recalled that African countries had also signed the N’gor Declaration on Sanitation and Hygiene which aims for universal access to adequate and sustainable sanitation and hygiene services as well as eliminate open defecation by 2030.
According to WHO/UNICEF 2017 Joint Monitoring Progress Report, 695 million people in sub-Saharan Africa live without access to basic sanitation, at the end of the MDGs in 2015.