Freshwater Action Network
– grassroots influencing on water and sanitation

South heard in 'Sanitation and Water for All' global talk

I felt very honored to represent FANSA in the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) meeting held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 20-23 November 2010 - a rare opportunity to be a part of a high profile gathering with highly experienced people from the sector.

For FANSA, this is a very influential platform to put forward our issues and agendas. South Asian countries are badly off track to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets on water and sanitation. We discussed some strategic issues and the global sanitation and water situation. I highlighted our South Asian problems regarding sanitation and water.

South Asian issues are very common and pertinent to climate change impacts, financial gaps, gender and inequity, sanitation coverage statistics and its coverage, monitoring, people's participation and capacity to use resources.

The meeting included high profile and intellectual personalities from the global water sanitation arena and I found it challenging to influence such a dynamic meeting, but I felt strengthened with the FANSA's backed up. FANSA gave me a platform to put forward the voices of South Asia's grassroots. I have strongly raised the need for water and sanitation to be prioritised politically at the country level and that the global committee needs to support the achievement of MDG targets.

We are still at the initial stage of the SWA and we will continue to engage to ensure the grassroots are heard in such an international policy dialogue. I have strongly observed that the presence of the South Asian governments in the SWA is very thin. India has not yet applied for the membership and FANSA can lobby for this. Having South Asian countries present in this platform can bring desirable influence in achieving the millennium targets in the given timeframe.

Though I only had a very short time it helped me to renew my relationship with people like Clarissa Brocklehurst from Unicef; Sanjay Wijesekera from DFID and John Lane of WSSCC. The next SWA steering meeting has been planned in Sri Lanka around the SACOSAN IV in April 2011. Without the candid suggestions and the contribution from my colleagues in the FANSA country chapters it would have been out of the question for me to attend the SWA steering committee, which is why I plan to outline a road map and share the action points to bring in real issues to the next SWA meeting.

Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) is a partnership of national governments, donors, multilaterals, civil society organizations and other development partners in the water and sanitation sector. The ultimate goal of SWA is to ensure sanitation and water for all people globally. Universal access to water supply and sanitation is a fundamental underpinning of good health, dignity and prosperity.

Download the meeting minutes

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