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G8/G20 Summits Policy Brief January 2010

Canada, June 2010

Global Safe Drinking Water


and Sanitation
D
For questions or feedback espite UN estimates that, on average, improving access to safe drinking water and
please contact: sanitation will contribute 30% to achieving each of the MDGs, the sector remains
a low priority on the international agenda and many national agendas. We urge the
Michaela Oldfield United States to take a strong leadership role at the upcoming Muskoka Summit and to call
Director of Operations and for immediate and invigorated action to implement the existing commitments to water and
Special Projects sanitation including the Evian Action Plan, Gleneagles commitment to Africa and the L’Aquila
Water Advocates G8-Africa Partnership on Water and Sanitation. We also encourage the United States to lead
moldfield@wateradvocates.org by example by developing its own comprehensive strategy for water, sanitation and hygiene
202-293-4048 development assistance and to encourage other G8/G20 members to do the same.

John Ruthrauff Recommendations


Senior Manager of InterAction’s G8/G20 NGO Coordination Group urges the U.S. government to take a strong
Member Advocacy leadership role at the June 2010 G8 Muskoka Summit and G20 Toronto Summit. We
InterAction request that the following recommendations be included in the respective communiqués.
jruthrauff@interaction.org
202-552-6523 1. Commit to the development of comprehensive strategies for water, sanitation and
hygiene development assistance, with the U.S. Government leading by example in
Contributors announcing the development of a comprehensive strategy for its water, sanitation and
• Africare
hygiene development assistance.
• Agua Para La Vida
• Ann Campana Judge Foundation
• CARE 2. Commit to participation in the Global Framework for Action on Sanitation and Water
• El Porvenir
• Emmanuel International Mission
Supply (GF4A).
• Global Environment & Technology
Foundation
• Global Water Challenge
3. Integrate water and sanitation strategies into 2010 G8/G20 initiatives and commitments
• Habitat for Humanity related to food security, child and maternal health, education, and climate change to
• InterAction
ensure these initiatives succeed.
• International Housing Coalition
• International Rescue Committee
• Millennium Water Alliance (MWA)


Philadelphia Global Water Initiative
Project WET Foundation
Background
• Pure Water for the World Evidence points to inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene as the world’s most serious
• The Chronicles Group RUNNING DRY
Project
public health problem; water and sanitation related diseases collectively account for 80%
• Water.org of the sickness in developing countries, killing more than 2 million people a year (includ-
• Water Advocates
ing more children than AIDS, TB and malaria combined) and leading to 50% of the world’s
• WaterAid America
• Water Centric malnutrition.1 The lack of access to safe water and sanitation undermines the sustainable
• Water Engineers for the Americas (WEFTA) achievement of all the MDGs (http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/), including child sur-
• Water For People
• Waterlines
vival, improved maternal health, primary and secondary education, gender equality, envi-
ronment and hunger alleviation.2
www.InterAction.org Solutions are known and can be effectively implemented, given sufficient political will.
Effective support of safe drinking water and sanitation initiatives is a highly visible, cost-
1400 16th Street, NW
Suite 210 effective, demand-driven and results-oriented approach to U.S. foreign assistance. The U.S.
Washington, DC 20036 has shown leadership on this issue in the passage of the Senator Paul Simon Water for the
202-667-8227 Poor Act in 2005.3 This Act, with overwhelming bipartisan support, made the provision of safe
drinking water and sanitation in countries of greatest need donors and other development partners. These include:
a priority of U.S. foreign policy. • Support governments in developing national plans
for sanitation and water and build stronger capacity to
1. Commit to the development of comprehensive implement these plans; ensure that no credible plan
strategies for water, sanitation and hygiene develop- fails for lack of financing.
ment assistance, with the USG leading by example • Mobilize additional resources and improve targeting of
by announcing the development of a comprehensive aid to those most in need.
strategy for its water, sanitation and hygiene develop- • Increase effectiveness of aid through donor harmoniza-
ment assistance. The Executive Branch is already legis- tion and alignment.
latively bound to produce a comprehensive strategy for • Provide better decision-making tools through an
water, sanitation and hygiene by the Senator Paul Simon annual comprehensive sector analysis that looks at
Water for the Poor Act of 2005. No strategy yet exists that service levels, policy and institutional setting, human
meets the requirements of the Act. Creation of this strategy resource capacity and financial system capacity of both
offers a unique opportunity to position the United States external support agencies and recipient countries.
as a global leader in making sure that water, sanitation and • Stimulate political will, coordinate action and ensure
hygiene aid is effectively spent. By taking the lead, the USG mutual accountability between donors and recipient
would gain traction in seeking commitment from other governments by developing international processes
nations to do likewise. A comprehensive strategy should to identify obstacles to progress in the sector, securing
include specific and measurable goals, benchmarks and the necessary commitments to resolve them, and moni-
timetables and should identify needed resources. toring and holding donors and national governments
The international community more broadly, and the U.S. accountable to their commitments.
in particular, has significantly ramped up resources flow-
ing to safe water, sanitation and hygiene. However, this 3. Integrate water and sanitation strategies into 2010
increase in funding has not been accompanied by a well- G8/G20 initiatives and commitments. Safe water, sanita-
coordinated strategic approach to ensure that these funds tion and hygiene (WASH) are a foundational piece of the
are spent in the most effective and sustainable ways pos- solution for every major development issue, including food
sible. Under the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and security, child and maternal health, education and climate
the Accra Agenda for Action (http://www.oecd.org/docum change. For example, 50% of malnutrition is not caused by
ent/18/0,2340,en_2649_3236398_35401554_1_1_1_1,00. lack of food but by diseases associated with unsafe water
html), major international donors—including the United and inadequate sanitation.5 When children suffer debilitat-
States— have committed to coordinate, long-term strategic ing, repetitive bouts of diarrhea, their bodies cannot absorb
planning that enhances efforts and planning of developing the nutrients in available food. This undermines investment
countries. in programs to tackle hunger.
WASH is critical in preventing the deaths of the almost
2. Participate in the Global Framework for Action on 1.6 million children who die from diarrheal disease each
Sanitation and Water Supply (GF4A). The GF4A will pro- year. The World Health Organization reported that globally,
vide a global platform to bring stronger political focus and improving water, sanitation, and hygiene could prevent
greater accountability to the sanitation and water sup- 28% of under-five deaths.6 The Millennium Development
ply sector and to assist donors, developing countries and Goal on child survival (MDG 4) will remain beyond reach
other development partners to coordinate more effectively, until lack of sanitation, unsafe drinking water and poor
increase aid effectiveness and target resources where they hygiene practices are addressed.
are most needed. While aid for sanitation and water supply In 60 priority countries where WASH data are available,
has been increasing, it is not well targeted, with only 23% of only 46% of primary schools have safe drinking water and
aid for the sector going to the countries most in need (least- 37% have sanitation facilities. Education and health have
developed countries) between 2002 and 2007.4 Despite UN a synergistic relationship; nutrition deficiencies, diarrhea,
estimates that, on average, improving access to safe drink- and worm infections (all WASH-related) all affect school par-
ing water and sanitation will contribute 30% to achieving ticipation and learning. Reports show that WASH in schools
each of the MDGs (http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/), increases school attendance by 15-25%.
the sector remains a low priority on the international Changes in human activities and in the hydrological
agenda and many national agendas. Sanitation is the most cycle, including drought and flooding, affect freshwater
off-track of all the MDG targets. quantity and quality. Some parts of the world have already
The GF4A will address this slow progress through a series experienced extreme weather events due to climate
of activities that will bring together national governments, change-related causes. Plans must be in place to address

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adaptation processes in the management of water.
Adequate safe water is a strategic concern; its provision
in water-stressed and arid areas decreases the likelihood of
conflict. Safe water and improved sanitation provide a basic
level of human security that, once reached, enables families
and individuals to work to increase their standards of living,
educate their children and become better stewards of the
environment.

Multiple organizations contributed to one or more of the recommendations in


this policy statement. The statement is not designed to be a consensus position
and has not been explicitly endorsed by the contributing organizations, the
InterAction Board, or its 193 member organizations.

Additional Policy Briefs are available on the InterAction web site:


www.InterAction.org /canada-2010-g8g20-summit.
• Accountability
• Basic Education
• Climate Change
• Global Economic Crisis
• Global Health
• Food, Hunger and Agriculture

Endnotes

1 http://www.wateradvocates.org/media/nytimesads/Sources.pdf

2 Kyoto Water Forum, “The Contribution of Water for Achieving the MDGs.”
[http://www.unsgab.org/docs/biblioteca/I-1.12.pdf]

3 The Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005, P.L. 109-121,
[http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=109_
cong_public_laws&docid=f:publ121.109.pdf]

4 http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/2/60/42265683.pdf

5 WHO, Safer Water, Better Health, [http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publica-


tions/2008/9789241596435_eng.pdf]

6 WaterAid, Fatal neglect: How health systems are failing to comprehen-


sively address child mortality, [http://www.wateraid.org/documents/
plugin_documents/wateraid_fatal_neglect.pdf]