WINDHOEK: A two-million Euro Regional Water Supply and Sanitation Programme (RWSSP) was launched in Johannesburg on Monday to assist Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states to increase access to water supply and sanitation.
The programme aims to enhance regional attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), support the development of post 2015 Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (WASH) goals towards a sustainable future.
A media statement issued by the SADC Secretariat on Monday noted that the 22-month-long programme will develop regional frameworks, tools, and methodologies to assist SADC Member States to improve the provision of safe Water Supply and Sanitation (WSS), contributing towards, socio-economic growth, poverty reduction, and regional integration. The programme is funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) through the Africa Water Facility, with a contribution from the SADC Secretariat.
Speaking during the launch ceremony, Senior Programme Officer for Water at the SADC Secretariat Phera Ramoeli said the RWSSP was a response to one of SADC’s targets towards reducing by half, the number of people with no access to Water and Sanitation by 2015.
The RWSSP is an integral component of SADC’s Regional Water Policy and the current Regional Strategic Action Plan (RSAP) on Integrated Water Resources Development and Management, which runs from 2011 to 2015.
Chief Water Policy Officer from the African Water Facility of the AfDB Mr Peter Akari urged SADC Member States to promote infrastructure development that incorporate climate change adaptation in their interventions towards increased access to Water and Sanitation.
A representative from the African Ministerial Conference on Water (AMCOW) and the African Union Commission Mr Anselme Vodunehessi commended SADC for developing regional instruments for coordinated management of water resources and urged the regional organisation to translate the developed frameworks into deliverables that improved the lives of people and feed into the development of the Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) post 2015 Water Sanitation and Health (WASH) goals.
“We need to strengthen our monitoring and evaluation systems to ensure that the frameworks and policies we develop result in meeting our Water and Sanitation goals”, added Vodunehessi.
The SADC RWSSP focuses on five components which have been identified during numerous stakeholder consultations since 1998 and have led to the timely development and launch of this Programme.
The five programme components include strengthening: financing strategies and tools; institutional rationalization; infrastructure development support; monitoring and reporting; and knowledge management and advocacy.