High Level Meetings

Since 2010, every two years, the SWA Partnership has organised the global SWA High-Level Meeting (HLM). These High Level Meetings bring together ministers of finance and ministers of water and sanitation from developing countries, ministers of development cooperation from donor countries, high level representatives from development banks, and civil society organisations.

Previously, at these meetings, ministers from both developing and donor countries made commitments to improve water and sanitation services. 

The aim of these Meetings is now to discuss how to strengthen the WASH sector and to create accountability between SWA members. The SWA Partnership promotes the Collective Behaviours and strong building blocks for the WASH sector at all scale.

  • Based on eight country case studies, regional and global monitoring reports as well as learning from other sectors, SWA partners have identified Four Collaborative Behaviours that, if adopted by countries and their partners, can improve the way that they work together to improve the long-term sector performance needed to deliver sanitation, hygiene and water for all, everywhere and forever.
  • Sector building blocks provide a useful framework for identifying and strengthening the key components of a well performing sector.

High Level Meeting (SWA)


High Level Meeting 2016

On 15-16 March 2016, SWA brought together 30 Ministers, Vice Ministers and heads of government departments responsible for water, sanitation and hygiene, along with 70 of their senior advisors, creating a unique and timely opportunity to consider the implications of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to plan government-led, national programmes to achieve the ambitious targets that have been set for water, sanitation and hygiene. Government participants were joined by high level representatives from aid agencies, development banks, UN institutions, civil society organisations, and private sector associations. In total, 47 countries were represented.

It was the first High Level Meeting after the adoption of the SDGs in 2015, and the first one to be held outside of the USA, hosted by the government of Ethiopia in Adis Ababa.

Participants recognised that the SDG goal of availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030 represents a significantly higher ambition than set by the Millennium Development Goals. Achieving the SDGs will require national systems capable of delivering and sustaining services that leave no one behind. Partners agreed on the importance of establishing strong building blocks: sector policy and strategy; institutional arrangements; sector financing; planning, monitoring, and review; and capacity development.

Partners also reaffirmed their commitment to the SWA Collective Behaviours, and agreed to address barriers to development effectiveness by:

  1. Enhancing government leadership of sector planning processes;
  2. Strengthening and using country systems;
  3. Using one information and mutual accountability platform;
  4. Building sustainable water and sanitation financing strategies.

High Level Meetings 2017

The 2017 SWA High-level Meetings (HLMs) take place in April in Washington D.C., USA. They comprise a Finance Ministers’ Meeting (FMM), convened by the World Bank on behalf of the SWA partnership, on 20 April. In the preceding days, 19 and 20 April, a Sector Ministers’ Meeting (SMM) is convened by UNICEF, involving those ministers responsible for water, sanitation and hygiene who have accompanied their finance counterparts.

At the ministerial meetings, participants will have the opportunity to engage in policy debate, exchange lessons learned and hold each other mutually accountable for progress on improving access to sanitation and drinking water for all. The preparatory process is ongoing at national, regional and global levels.

  • Finance Ministerial Meetings: the main objective of the FMM is to get endorsement of key policy principles on sector financing required to meet the water, sanitation and hygiene-related SDGs targets, with an explicit focus on eliminating inefficiencies and achieving universal access.
  • Sector Ministerial Meetings: This one-and-a-half-day meeting, will build on the discussions held in Addis Ababa in March 2016. In particular, ministers will consider how to implement the Building Blocks needed to establish the foundations for a strong sector. They will also discuss the SWA Collaborative Behaviours and how to reach the SDG six on water.

To know more about the 2017 High Level Meetings and their outcomes please visit SWA website.