Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Madam Cecilia Abena Dapaah, has called on the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector players to be mindful that the successful achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 17 global goals hinges on Goal 6- Safe water and adequate sanitation for all.
According to the Minister, the 17 global Goals are inter-related, interdependent and mutually reinforcing.
Madam Dapaah made this observation at the opening ceremony of the 31st edition of the Mole Conference Series which is currently underway at the Hill View Guests Center-Abokobi, in the Ga East Municipal Assemble of the Greater Accra region.
The annual Mole Conference Series which is the biggest meeting platform where the “Apostles of WASH” meet to discuss national Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) issues is on the theme: “Prioritizing and Refocusing Sustainable WASH Services Delivery: Lessons From The COVID19 Pandemic”.
Addressing the participants, the Sanitation and Water Resources Minister, maintained that as part of government’s efforts to promote the universal sustainable development agenda and to raise awareness of the integrated nature of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it has become clear that the 17 global Goals are inter-related, interdependent and mutually reinforcing.
“However, Goal 6-Safe water and adequate sanitation for all- is the central pillar to achieve many other goals. For instance, it underpins poverty reduction (SDG 1), food security (SDG 2), good health and well-being (SDG 3), economic growth (SDG8), sustainable livelihoods (SDG 11), combating climate change (SDG 13), and healthy ecosystems (SDG 15).” She reiterated.
The Fight Against Covid-19 Pandemic
The minister admitted that, whereas the Government’s response to the spread of the pandemic has yielded considerable results and widely acknowledged and commended the world over, the extent of the WASH sector’s specific contribution to the fight has revealed significant gaps in its response to the management of emergencies, and needs to be addressed.
She acknowledged that it was against this background that she consider the theme for the Conference: “Prioritizing and Refocusing Sustainable Wash Services Delivery: Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic”, very appropriate.
According to the minister, prioritization of WASH activities, in all its respects, is more important now than ever, if the country is to be adequately prepared and better positioned to comprehensively deal with such pandemics that require emergency responses.
“Here, you would agree with me that, to achieve this, there is the need for a systematic introduction of reforms in the WASH sub sector, so that issues of equity in service provision, financing, enhanced coordination, effective monitoring and evaluation, among others, are reconsidered
For instance, in the implementation of the government’s Free Water Supply Programme, there is some degree of difficulty in reaching a host of the peril-urban and low income urban communities, due to poor infrastructure or its absence in those areas.
The situation has resulted in the multiplicity of unregulated Service Providers rendering poor quality, but high cost, services to the people in the affected. Certainly, this phenomenon should be one of our pre occupations in the period ahead, if we are to build a resilient system capable of dealing effectively with emergencies.” She noted.
The Sanitation and Water Resources Minister, was of the view that important lessons have been learnt from the emergence of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Therefore, as the theme for the Conference depicts, it is her hope that, by the time participants leave the conference, they would have identified and thoroughly discussed all the critical issues and fashioned out possible solutions for recommendation to inform future policies in the WASH sector.
“Mr. Chairman, let me assure this Conference that Government, through the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, would not relent in its efforts at addressing the challenges in the sector. However, given the enormity and the urgency of the issues requiring attention, Government cannot do it all alone, especially within the context of the SDG 6 targets and timeframe. It is as a result of this that the Government would continue to extend a hand of partnership to NGOs/ CSOs, including the Development Partners, to support Government agenda in the sector.” She disclosed.
Madam Dapaah announced at the gathering that a Resource Mobilization/ Logistics Committee have also been put in place to mobilize and coordinate donations from private individuals and organizations to support the fight against the pandemic.
She reassured WASH sector players of Government’s continuous commitment to the improvement of the WASH sector to serve the people better, with your partnership. I await the outcome of this conference and assure you that we will not hesitate to implement the resultant recommendations.
Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH
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