From eThekwini to Ngor: a bumpy road for sanitation

By Raphael Mweninguwe in Daker, Senegal

The road from eThekwini in Durban, South Africa to Ngor, in Daker, Senegal has been a very rough and bumpy one in as far as improving access to billions of people in Africa is concerned, experts admit.

20150526_114219[1]eThekwin is where African Ministers and experts met in 2008 to commit themselves to improving the sanitation and hygiene in Africa. Since then little progress has been done.

The Snegalese Preaident Macky Sall said Tuesday when he opened the the 4th African Conference on Sanitation and Hygiene in Daker that the road from eThekwina has not been in vain. He said some achievements have been made but the road has been bumpy.

He said as Africa now changes its road map from eThekwini to Ngor “I dont think we will miss another opportunity to have our people fail to have access to improved sanitation.”

“As we come up with new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) after 2015 Africa can no longer afford to miss again on the SDGs by 2030,” he said.

The eThekwini Declaration included a number of commitments such as bringing the messages, outcomes and commitments made at AfricaSan 2008 to the attention of the African Union; and establishing, reviewing, updating and adopting national sanitation and hygiene policies within 12 months of AfricaSan 2008.

There were a number of further commitments made including financing and monitoring of progress of the commitments themaelves.

Unfortunately water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector is the least funded of all the sectors by a mojority of governments in Africa. This explains why the eThekwini Declaration has failed to meet the desired goals.

The Ngor Declaration which will officially come out on Wednesday after African Ministers’ meeting will likely to face the same funding challenges as the eThekwini Declaration mainly because political will is lacking within the WASH sector.

African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) Executive Secretary Bai-Mass Taal explained that the eThekwini Declaration has come to an end with the AfricanSan4 Conference in Daker. He said the name Ngor came in after the Senegalese Minister opted for the name instead of the original agreed name of Teranga Declaration.

Taal said the sanitation and hygiene remains a challange to one third of people in the continent whom he said are without proper toilet facilities.

He said access to safe sanition remains a challenge and he said there was need for political will to achieve sanitation for all by 2030.

Catarima de Albuquerque President of the Sanitation for All (SWA) although contries have been tracking and monitoring progress on the eThekwini Declaration there are still a lot of things that need to be done.

She said an estimated 1.1 billion people in Africa are without toilets and these she said are the people who help themselves openly.

She said monitoring and follow-up is important in sanitation and as a result putting in place proper sanitation monitoring systems are key.

It now remains to be seen whether the Ngor Declaration will be translated into actions. Otherwise the road after Daker will still remain bumpy.

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