African ministers in Ngor Declaration, to eliminate open defecation by 2030
The commitment was made by the Ministers and Head of Delegations responsible for sanitation and hygiene in Africa, together with senior civil servants, academics, civil society, development partners and private sector at the 4th African Conference on Sanitation and Hygiene (AfricaSan), convened by the Government of Senegal with support from the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) in Dakar, Senegal.
They recognized that an estimated 133 million people living in Africa gained improved sanitation since 1990, the level of progress has not kept pace with demograpic change; many countries do not have adequate high-level leadership, financial and human resources to implement existing policies, fail to tackle equity, do not build, manage or maintain sanitation system and services, or create the large-scale hygiene behaviour change.
This lack of access to improved sanitation together with poor hygiene practice result in a huge burden of disease and that the associated economic, human, social, health and environmental costs are a major burden on African countries. An estimated 61 per cent of people living in Africa do not have access to improve sanitation and that 21per cent still defecate in the open.
Coming under the Ngor Declaration on Sanitation and Hygiene” – an ambitious declaration highlighting the commitment of African countries to put the elimination of open defecation among their top priorities. Ngor means ‘dignity’ in Wolof, the Senegalese national language.
In the new vision, the governments agreed to develop and fund strategies to bridge the sanitation and hygiene human resource capacity gap at all levels; focus on the poorest, most marginalized and unserved aimed at progressively eliminating inequities in access and use and implement national and local strategies with emphasis on equity and sustainability.
As part of the ways to achieve universal access to adequate and sustainable sanitation and hygiene services, the ministers plan to mobilise support and resources at the highest political level for sanitation and hygiene to disproportionately prioritize sanitation and hygiene in national development plans.
Other strategies include to establish and track sanitation and hygiene budget lines that consistently increase annually to reach a minimum of 0.5 per cent GDP by 2020; ensure strong leadership and coordination at all levels to build and sustain governance for sanitation and hygiene across sectors especially water, health, nutrition, education, gender and the environment.
They countries agreed to progressively eliminate untreated waste, encouraging its productive use; enable and engage the private sector in developing innovative sanitation and hygiene products and services especially for the marginalized and unserved; establish government-led monitoring, reporting, evaluating, learning and review systems.
While calling on development banks, donors and partners to increase their support to government led efforts for universal access to sanitation and hygiene and to match this financial support with responsible accountable engagement; AMCOW urged civil society in Africa to forge a cohesive, coherent and transparent vision and strategy to work with all stakeholders to achieve the Ngor Declaration.
The meeting also urged AMCOW to prioritize and facilitate adequate resourcing for sanitation and hygiene by mobilising dedicated, substantive new sources of financing; AMCOW to facilitate the establishment and management of systems and processes for performance monitoring and accountability against the Ngor Declaration.
WaterAid Nigeria’s Country Representative, Dr. Michael Ojo said: “The Ngor declaration is another promise we must hold our leaders accountable for but it is also one we all must take responsibility for making a happen.
“In Nigeria, the proportion of people practising open defecation between 1990 and 2012 has only decreased by one per cent. This figure needs to change and progress must be accelerated if the country is to experience real development.
“Universal access means ensuring everyone everywhere has access to a safe, hygienic toilet at home, at school, in health centres and in other public places. This is the only way we can have a fighting chance of eliminating