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Water Conference: UN Agencies Call For More Investment In WASH

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The World Health Organisation (WHO) and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF)  on Wednesday called on all nations to invest in better access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) for all.

The UN agencies made the call in a joint statement coinciding with the 2023 UN Water Conference in New York.

Some two billion people still have no access to safe drinking water and 3.6 billion use sanitation services that leave human waste untreated.

Access to safe water and sanitation offer a pathway to social and economic progress by supporting community health and productivity.

The world needs to progress four times faster to achieve universal access to adequate WASH services by 2030 while progress needs to happen even faster across sensitive contexts and poorest countries.

The agencies urged governments to take the following actions with support from UN agencies, multilateral partners, the private sector, and civil society organisations:

Governments need to develop a plan for increasing political commitment to safely managed drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene, including outreach to leaders at all levels of government and engaging with civil society groups.

On funding and financing, it is crucial to develop clear policy objectives to guide funding and financing decisions for WASH, as well as costed funding and financing strategies that take into account the needs of different regions and populations.

According to the agencies. it is also important to develop a plan for building a stronger, more diverse, and gender-balanced workforce with stronger skills in the WASH sector.

They noted that it was also important to support the growth of professionalised service delivery – particularly in small and rural environments – by providing capacity development for underpaid and inadequately trained staff.

Better data and evidence for decision making is also important, as is encouraging innovation and experimentation when it comes to WASH.

This should include developing supportive government policies and regulations and fostering collaboration between government, civil society groups, and private sector actors to develop and implement new solutions. (NAN)

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