International humanitarian group Solidarites International this month released its 2020 "Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Barometer" highlighting lack of access to safe drinking water and sanitation with focus on Africa, where human population is set to double by 2050.
The Barometer has been prepared with an aim to ensure that the 9th World Water Forum in Dakar in March 2021, the first in sub-Saharan Africa, adequately and thoroughly represents the continent’s very large populations who are at risk in fragile or crisis stricken countries. The group examines water and sanitation challenges, water-related diseases, the impact of climate change in the Sahel, on large rivers and on institutional and development policies.
The report includes an interview with co-chairs of the preparatory committee of the Forum, Abdoulaye Sene, representing Senegal, and Patrick Lavarde, of the World Water Council, who explain why the Dakar Forum must take a radically different approach and provide responses to drinking water and sanitation needs. Solidarites International emphasises that the Forum must mobilize all actors in the field: humanitarian and development workers, public and private operators.
The report also points out that the Forum must act as a stimulus and a driver and Solidarites International urges countries and the United Nations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially Goal 6 on water.
In addition, the 2020 edition of WASH Barometer outlines a series of solutions and innovations that may contribute to SDG 6, such a how the NGO Solidarités International engage in sensitive contexts for water projects, how to boost decentralised cooperation initiatives through building upon French law or how to mobilise expertise to create tailor made solutions for the region through the Dakar Water Hub, established by Senegal with the support of the Geneva Water Hub.
The NGO issues five recommendations in advance of the Forum, where the theme will be “Water Security for Peace and Development”:
- “Mobilize all the relevant stakeholders to make the 9th World Water Forum a major event that will contribute to putting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Goal 6 back on the right track.
- "Organize a summit between the Heads of State of Sahel countries, which are among the worst affected by lack of drinking water and sanitation, to draw up an action plan that will have a rapid and sustainable impact.
- "Invite local actors and representatives of the most vulnerable communities in Africa to the World Water Forum, so that they can express their difficulties.
- "Organize a conference for field operators, with the objective of boosting complementarity between humanitarian action and development.
- "Advocate for a strong final political declaration at the World Water Forum, prepared at the intergovernmental level by Senegal and France with as many nations as possible, in order to provide practical responses to urgent needs.”