The Dar es Salaam Roadmap for Achieving the N’Gor Commitments on Water Security and Sanitation in Africa, published by AMCOW in July 2016 after the Africa Water Week conference in Dar es Salaam, highlights the link between good governance and transparency, and improved access to water and sanitation services in Africa. With this statement, AMCOW commits to take action on governance and to specifically address the need to improve transparency, accountability and integrity in the water sector, as a matter of priority. It follows the several discussions on governance that WIN took part in during the Africa Water Week, including on the policy shifts needed to achieve SDGs (technical session 3, under track 4 on improving policy, financing and monitoring).
340 million people have no access to safe drinking water on the continent and the water sector is facing major challenges due to climate change, population growth, and insufficient financing. Corruption is hindering development and will affect whether the SDGs can be achieved. To reduce corruption, we need more integrity, with transparency, accountability, participation and anti-corruption measures as its pillars.
AMCOW’s readiness to address integrity explicitly is a welcome, major step forward.
The policy shifts needed to achieve the SDGs must incorporate integrity
WIN co-convened a lively session on the policy shifts needed to achieve the SDGs at the Africa Water Week, in partnership with the African Development Bank and the African Network of Basin Organisations (ANBO). Over 100 international participants attended the session and were willing to openly discuss how corruption and integrity have to be part of policy reform.
During the session, WIN director, Frank van der Valk, highlighted the importance of water integrity to achieve the SDGs. He pointed out that water integrity should be an integral part of policies, laws and regulations, financial management, programme planning and implementation, and monitoring and evaluation, and stressed the importance of establishing water integrity mechanisms from the start when planning new water projects and programmes. Stimulating the participation of citizens, consumers and civil society organisations is one such mechanism that can also build trust in reform processes. Encouraging independent monitoring by media, non-governmental institutions and civil society is another.
Dr Lamine NDIAYE, Permanent Technical Secretary of ANBO, also made recommendations to strengthen institutions, refine their organization, clarify the legal basis of existing basin organisations, and invest in developing capacity of stakeholders.
Better monitoring for better performance and more accountability
In the same work track on improving policy, financing and monitoring, several organizations, including UNICEF and the Global Water Partnership also highlighted the need for better monitoring for the sector, especially on SDGs. National monitoring systems need to be strengthened along with data management capacity and information exchange.
Monitoring is an important aspect of water integrity. In line with the recommendations in the Water Integrity Global Outlook 2016, governance indicators could be included alongside water sector performance indicators.
We are pleased to note that monitoring is also mentioned in AMCOW’s final communique on the event as its fourth area of priority action. The statement points to capacity building for AMCOW and improved knowledge sharing as two ways to “strengthen the framework for standardized monitoring and reporting based on open, accurate, and disaggregated data to enable national, regional, and global follow-up and review of the progress made towards reaching Africa’s water sector commitments and the SDGs”.