In 2015, UN member states adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are made up of 17 global goals in the form of a universal call to action to end poverty, protect our planet and ensure a peaceful and prosperous life for everyone. The adoption of these goals were especially a cause for celebration for organisations working on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), as there was a goal specifically dedicated to water and sanitation (Goal 6). We are currently two years into the SDGs and yet, over 2.1 billion people lack access to safely managed water services (over twice as many for sanitation). With that said, there is a lot that needs to be done.
As part of the monitoring and review framework of the SDGs, governments are expected to put themselves forward for reviews on an annual basis during the UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF). Each year, the HLPF focuses on specific goals and in 2018, the focus will also be Goal 6. This provides civil society organisations (CSOs) an opportunity to emphasise the importance of water and sanitation, hold national governments accountable and advocate for the importance of human rights to WASH services.
Although accountability mechanisms such as the Joint Sector Reviews and the UN Voluntary National Reviews exist, it is unclear if there are other national-led mechanisms. In addition to this, there is very little clarity on what the role(s) of CSOs are in these mechanisms, in order to hold governments accountable for the implementation of SDG 6.
In 2017, End Water Poverty (EWP) and its members and partners (Watershed Programme, Coalition Eau and WSSCC), agreed to conduct an in-depth inclusive analysis and produce a comprehensive report on country-level accountability mechanisms, assessing their strengths, limitations and effectiveness. This report will be launched prior to the HLPF (July 2018), with the aim of strengthening and building the capacity of national CSOs when advocating for improved accountability mechanisms. The goal is to have a much needed conversation in-country between national governments and other relevant stakeholders. This will improve existing accountability mechanisms, ultimately speeding up the delivery of safely managed services for the most marginalised and vulnerable.
The research, which is being led by citizen networks and CSOs across the world will be conducted from the end of 2017 until early 2018, with the aim of having the following outcomes:
- Enhanced insights on the existing in-country accountability mechanisms.
- Strengthened capacity of CSOs to advocate for more effective WASH accountability mechanisms on a national level.
- Strengthening of national, regional and global coalitions, ensuring a better positioning to influence the international debate on strengthening these accountability mechanisms.
Focusing on a range of countries (low, middle and high income) across all regions, the data for this research will collect primary (survey) and secondary data. This information will be provided by government and development partners, NGOs and CSOs.
We are pleased to share this exciting news with you and hope that the process and findings of the report leads to discoveries, lessons learnt, impactful and sustainable changes. Ultimately, we aim to ensure the protection of human rights to safely managed water and sanitation services on a global scale. We will announce the date of the report launch in the upcoming months.
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