Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ghana government pledges access to water, sanitation and hygiene for all by 2025

From left, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, World Bank Group President Dr. Jim Yong Kim and SWA Chair Mr John Agyekum Kufuor
The government has pledged to deliver universal access to safe drinking water, basic toilets and hygiene for all Ghanaians by 2025.
It has also made nine other commitments, which include better financing and coordination, renewal of the national water policy and conducting of a national study on access, for the hardest-to-reach.
These commitments were made known at the recently held third Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting (SWA-HLM) held in Washington DC, alongside the World Bank’s Spring Meeting.
Currently 13 out of 100 Ghanaians do not have access to safe drinking water, while 86 out of every 100 are without basic sanitation.
Latest statistics also indicate that over 3,600 children in Ghana under the age of five die each year of diarrhoeal diseases as a result of the lack of access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene. 
According to WaterAid, an international non-governmental organisation and a founding partner of the SWA partnership, Ghana’s sector ministers for finance, water and sanitation and nearly 50 other countries pledged to strengthen efforts to bring water, basic toilets and hygiene to their people following the SWA-HLM in Washington, DC, USA, on April 11.
It said around 20 countries including 14 from Sub-Saharan Africa, promised to provide all citizens with access to safe water, basic toilets and hygiene by 2030, whereas 16 Sub-Saharan African leaders promised to eliminate open defecation in their countries by 2030.
Opening the meeting, the United Nations Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-Moon, said “Achieving sanitation and water for all may not be cost-free – but it will set people free. Access to sanitation and water means a child free of disease, a woman free of the back-breaking chore to fetch water, a girl free to attend school without fear, a village free of cholera, and a world of greater equality and dignity for all.”
The High Level Meeting of the Sanitation and Water for All partnership brings together a coalition of more than 90 partners, including developing countries, aid-donor countries, and organisations such as the World Bank and UNICEF to discuss the global state of water, sanitation and hygiene. 
Writer’s email:
  • According to WaterAid calculations, at the present rate of progress, Ghana will achieve universal access to safe water by 2020, but will not achieve universal access to sanitation until 2265.
  • Previous SWA-HLMs have been held in 2010 and 2012 and this year’s was the third and held on the theme: “Smart investments to achieve water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for all”.
  • The Sanitation and Water for All partnership currently has 59 global partners including Ghana.

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