In a press release on May 6, 2015, the Embassy of the Netherlands in Benin announced the suspension of the phase 2 of its multi-annual support programme to the water and sanitation sector in Benin (the Programme Pluriannuel d’appui au secteur de l’Eau et de l’Assainissement au Benin) – PPEA2), a programme of XOF 40 524 billion covering 2013-2015. The announcement also mentions the suspension of the preparatory phase of the next phase of the programme and of all further programmes meant to be financed by the Dutch Government and implemented directly by the Government of Benin.
In light of:
- The PPEA2 being the most important support programme to increase access to urban and rural water and sanitation in Benin,
- Other parallel financing and investments associated with the implementation of the PPEA2 for the development of the water sector and economy of Benin,
- The PPEA2 as a means to enable significant progress in the implementation of integrated water resource management (IWRM) and improvements in water governance in Benin,
- The amount of misappropriated funds , EUR 4 million or approximately XOF 3 billion, which would have made it possible for at least 100 000 Beninese to gain access to drinking water and for Benin to progress in the rational and sustainable management of the country’s water resources,
- 2015 being a crucial year in which an assessment of progress made towards the Millennium Development Goals is being carried out in line with the transition to the Sustainable Development Goals, which in turn should ensure access to water and sanitation for all in Benin. The current service coverage level for drinking water in Benin is 67.2% and that of sanitation for households is 45.8%,
- The leading and constant position of Dutch cooperation in the development of the water and sanitation sector for the benefit of the Benin population and the perspectives of reinforcement agreed on with Benin,
- The effective and active cooperation of the GWP-PNE Benin and the Water Integrity Network, which since 2009 have relentlessly brought to the attention of decision-makers, practitioners, donors and investors the sector’s inherent risks of corruption and embezzlement in many forms, and have highlighted the need to prevent these by promoting integrity and good governance at all levels,
And taking into account the impact of the current crisis, both partners, GWP-PNE Benin and WIN, condemn:
- The failure of Beninese parties to respect their engagements to promote integrity and good governance in the implementation of the PPEA2 at all institutional levels,
- The lack of reaction of the Ministry responsible for water when faced with first signs of alarm following the 2013 audit,
- The malfunction of the control and regulation bodies for the management of public resources in Benin.
The GWP-PNE Benin and WIN urge the Beninese Government to:
- Diligently shed light on this matter, which once again reminds us of the governance challenges in the vital sector of water in Benin, and urgently integrate the promotion of integrity in its national strategies to increase access to water and sanitation, in order to ensure effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of the efforts of its technical and financial partners,
- Rapidly take the required measures and guarantees to resume the cooperation, which is of great importance to ensure sustainable access to water and sanitation for all Beninese and to further the economic growth and the development of the country.
The GWP-PNE Benin and WIN recommend that civil society be involved in the implementation of measures required to end the suspension of Dutch-Beninese cooperation and that an ethical code for sector stakeholders be drawn up.
Furthermore, the GWP-PNE Benin, a network of organizations active in the promotion of IWRM, in collaboration with WIN, a German NGO aiming to promote integrity in the water sector worldwide, commits to contribute as best it can to boost and accompany all integrity promotion initiatives for the water and sanitation sector in Benin.
The GWP-PNE Benin and WIN work together to improve integrity levels (including transparency, accountability and participation) in the water sector in Benin, and at regional and international levels.
For the GWP-PNE Benin,
Andre TOUPE, President
Cotonou, the 10th of June 2015
Frank VAN DER VALK, Executive Director
Berlin, the 10th of June 2015
Frank VAN DER VALK, Directeur exécutif
Berlin, le 10 juin 2015