SWAKOPMUND – During the opening of the seventh Africa Sanitation and Hygiene Conference (AfricaSan7), Calle Schlettwein, the Minister of Agriculture, Water, and Land Reform, highlighted concerns that Africa remains far from meeting the Ngor commitments for sanitation and hygiene.
According to NAMPA, the commitments, which align with Sustainable Development Goal 6.2, aim for universal access to adequate, sustainable sanitation and hygiene services and the elimination of open defecation by 2030. The Ngor Declaration on Sanitation and Hygiene was established at the fourth AfricaSan Conference in Dakar, Senegal, in 2015.
The minister underscored the importance of the AfricaSan7 Conference in Swakopmund, which is focused on bolstering partnerships, exchanging knowledge, and sustaining efforts to progress towards the Ngor commitments. The conference aims to catalyze action on several fronts, including research, innovation, technology, capacity development, and behavioural change related to sanitation.
Erongo Governor Neville Andre Itope indicated that approximately 10 percent of households in the region lack toilet facilities, with disparities between urban (5 percent) and rural (53 percent) areas. He pointed out the marked difference in sanitation services between urban and rural zones in the Erongo Region, while also acknowledging the construction of dry pit latrines and improvements to sewage systems in rural areas.
Itope praised the Namibian Government for its dedication to enhancing sanitation, evident through budget allocations and the establishment of a department specifically for sanitation, extending its operations to the regional and local authority levels.
The bi-annual event is organized by the African Ministers’ Council on Water and the African Union Commission, gathering over 500 stakeholders including government representatives, municipal leaders, heads of utilities, and development partners to discuss and strategize on safely managed sanitation and hygiene under the theme ‘Strengthening Systems and Partnerships for Accelerated Action on Safely Managed Sanitation and Hygiene.’