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Non Governmental Diplomacy: Subjects

Access to water and sanitation

PFN in charge:  Congad, Senegal

Reports:

Access to water and sanitation is a necessary condition to lay the foundations for sustainable socio-economic development based on agriculture, which employs 70% of the world’s working population, and for human development taking into account the social determinants of health, which include access to sanitation. In a context characterized, on the one hand, by the growing scarcity of public resources allocated to the areas of water and sanitation, and on the other, by tenant farming and privatization dynamics, an increasing number of people are excluded from access to these factors in health and socio-economic development.

In Senegal, to take only his example, 10% of city dwellers and 36% of rural dwellers have no access to drinking water. As for sanitation, access rates are not much higher. In spite of an increased access rate, which has grown from 39% to 57% between 2002 and 2004, people excluded from the sanitation system meeting MDG standards represent 83% of the total population in rural areas and 41% in urban areas.

A mobilization of civil society therefore appears necessary for a greater synergy, for an efficient practice of the states’ missions and duties, to mobilize the resources needed to reach MDGs, to exercise the right to water and sanitation in Southern countries and to respect the corporate social responsibility.

Debates

Public authorities maintain that they devote important resources to improve access to water and sanitation. In this framework, they emphasize the “need of developing public-private partnership” in order to meet the challenges (financing, equipment maintenance, privatization of water and sanitation services).

As for NGOs, they’ve been involved in informing objectively the actors (communities, local authorities, media, technical and financial partners), by setting up coalitions to establish stable reference situations and to carry out issue-based advocacy on the basis of rigorously constituted reference documents. In this framework, they maintain that water is a global public good and a necessary factor in life, and that it should not be subject to economic self-interest to the benefit of multinational corporations with no other goal than maximal economic gain. NGOs spread initiatives related to water use for domestic purposes as well as to generate sustainable income and employment in rural areas. They specifically focus on sanitation, which remains the poor relation in public action.

Negociations

Framework of negociations: World Water Forum, WTO, the Cotonou Agreement on including water and sanitation in the EDF’s concentration sectors, UNDP.

Actors : states, UNDP, the private sector, the International Secretariat for Water.