Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ghana commits to increase resources for sanitation, water

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE
Dr. Kwabena Duffuor

Ghana’s Minister of Finance, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, has stated government’s commitment to increase allocation of resources to sanitation and water, by revising and reinforcing the Ghana Compact, in line with the country’s needs and capacity as an emerging Middle Income Country.
He said government will also augment resources to the sector, to reflect the joint responsibility of government, development partners and civil society for implementing the commitments, as well as monitor, evaluate and report on progress in implementing the Compact.
Dr. Duffuor stated these, when he reaffirmed Ghana’s resolve to achieve all the water and sanitation targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), at the second High Level Meeting (HLM) held in Washington D.C, USA last week.
Ghana’s Finance Minister, who was presenting the country’s commitments to sanitation and water at the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) HLM, noted seven areas that government has decided to act to ensure access to sanitation and hygiene.
“In reaffirming our resolve to achieving all the Water and Sanitation targets of the MDGs, we make the following commitments – Continue to prioritise sanitation and water at the highest political level,” he started off.
To achieve that, he said “We commit to continuing participation in the SWA Partnership, leading country level processes and participating in all future high level meetings, prioritising water and sanitation alongside health and education in dialogue with donors, in national development plans and in sector strategies of other sectors, increasing policy dialogue on sanitation and water at all levels of our economy and, engaging in South-South experience sharing and dialogue on WASH issues.”
Dr. Duffuor added that the government of Ghana will ensure improved targeting of funds to where they are most needed, by focusing resources and attention on achieving and sustaining progress on equitable delivery of the national and MDG targets, especially for sanitation and WASH in schools.
To make good Ghana’s third commitment, he said a clear criteria for equitable targeting of resources at national and sub-national level including indicators and mechanisms for monitoring performance, will be developed and applied.
Ghana also pledged to ensure strong country ownership and government leadership, toward realisation of the aid effectiveness agenda in the sector. This it plans to do, by moving rapidly towards a Sector-Wide Approach (SWAp) and developing a government-led sector-wide coordination mechanism involving all relevant stakeholders.
Government also believes its fourth commitment can be achieved by establishing mechanisms to ensure accountability for progress, including an effective monitoring and evaluation mechanism and transparency of resource management, including public expenditure reviews and tracking.
It adds that it will mobilise all stakeholders including development partners, civil society and the private sector, to contribute towards national targets for sanitation and water embodied in existing plans and frameworks.
Dr. Kwabena Duffuor further promised that Ghana will see to the implementation of national action plans, by “fully implementing all national plans and strategies on sanitation and water, including the National Environmental Sanitation Strategy and Action Plan and its investment plan, Water Sector Strategic Development Plan and the accompanying investment plans of the rural, urban and water resources sub sectors”, as well as MDG Acceleration Framework for sanitation.
The Finance Minister stated that as Ghana’s sixth commitment, government pledges to “Ensure sustainability and scaling up of sanitation and water services”
“In addition to providing sanitation and water infrastructure, we commit to: Adopting a service delivery approach to ensure that facilities continue to deliver a basic level of service for all people and the benefits of these services endure over time through provision of adequate budget for post construction support, capital repairs and maintenance,” he disclosed.
Furthermore, he divulged that plans are afoot to institute measures to scale up achievement in WASH, by developing a national programme for demand creation, and committing adequate resources to support research and testing of WASH innovative tools/approaches, knowledge management, promotion and application.
Lastly, Dr. Duffuor told the august gathering of ministers that Ghana is committed to the establishment of a Sector Information System, which it will do by instituting an effective Sector Management Information system to strengthen the role of monitoring and evaluation in sustainable services delivery.
Other steps at arriving at that goal, he said, will be developing and implementing a framework for periodic analysis and regular monitoring of and reporting on equity and inclusion in the water and sanitation sector.
Also, sustaining government’s contribution to and participation in the development of the WASH Bottleneck Analysis Tool and to subsequently using the tool for periodic analysis to inform improved ability of the sector to deliver results.
Commenting on the commitments made by the Ghana government, WaterAid’s Country Representative in Ghana, Dr. Afia Zakiya, said: “These are crucial commitments made by the Ghanaian government; they put the country on the course to meeting the Millennium Development Goal on sanitation by 2015.”
“The lives of over 2,000 children under the age of five in Ghana could be saved if the government makes good on the sanitation MDG. WaterAid will keep a close eye on the Ministries over the next three years to push the government to honour its words with actions,” she added.
The second HLM held on April 20, 2012, was chaired by Ghana’s former President, John Agyekum Kufuor and attended by over 50 governments.

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GJA 2010 Award Winners
Dzifa, Emelia and Gertrude

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