Freshwater Action Network
– grassroots influencing on water and sanitation

Africa Water Week 3 -- day 1 kicks off!

It was an exciting start to the day, as Africa Water Week (AWW) kicked off with music and dancing and the entrance of the Ethiopian president. Several ANEW delegates were especially ready to engage after yesterday’s CSO Orientation Forum joint hosted by ANEW with the generous support of WaterAid and a few tireless advocates were even up late into last night consolidating the CSO discussing for a civil society statement to be released soon.

The opening plenary -- Addis Ababa UN Headquarters

Sharing experiences at the CSO Forum

This is the 3rd AWW since the decision by the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) in 2007 to hold an annual Africa Water Week, as a means of building momentum across the continent to accelerate progress towards achieving the MDGs on water and sanitation. Although CSOs have increased their engagement over the last two years, disappointingly, the African Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW) has still not been offered a place to speak in the opening ceremony and the CSO Forum is not yet an official part of the AWW agenda. Both of these are key things that ANEW will be working towards as a way of increasing meaningful African CSO participation in this important forum and strengthening the ANEW/AMCOW partnership.

Discussing the CSO demands

The meeting of so many minds for this week enabled another key opportunity, a meeting of the steering committee for Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) over this past weekend. FAN CSO representatives Rudy Amenga-Etego , ANEW and Yakub Hossain, Freshwater Action Network South Asia (FANSA), report that is was a useful meeting and Rudy will be making a more full report in an ANEW meeting later in the week about the key opportunities for ANEW and CSOs within the SWA.

The 

AWW3 sub-themes are; 1) Financing Investment in Water for Growth and Development, 2) Water and Urbanization, 3) Water, Climate and Development, 4) Institutional Development and Capacity Building. Although, all of these are key issues I am always disappointed not to see sanitation more prominently in the broad agenda. I was also disappointed to see bottles of water everywhere and to see many delegates leaving half full bottles of water behind and they moved from session to session. Heavy sigh.

Sharing the Rights to Water and Sanitation Handbook

In great news however, I have been sharing FAN’s recently completed Activist Handbook on the Rights to Water and Sanitation. I was only able to bring a few couples, as FAN members will receive their own by post, but have been in negotiations with several members of ANEW for these few precious copies and even witnessed a friendly tug-o-war yesterday at the CSO Forum over one copy. Though I wish I was able to speed these handbooks to everyone faster, I am delighted to see so much enthusiasm for this handbook, and hope that when it does reach partners they will find it a useful tool for their work on the progressive realization of the rights to sanitation and water.

 

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