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Published on: 18/09/2019

17:00 | 20 November 2019
7AM Conference Centre | The Hague, The Netherlands

This edition of WASH Debates seeks to explore and discuss what can be done to provide long-lasting and sustainable drinking water and sanitation services in the most fragile contexts.

Specific objectives of this WASH Debate are to learn about the following:

  • To what extent water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and local water resources management (WRM) systems can be developed and strengthened in fragile contexts.
  • The level to which external programmes should focus on strengthening the state, or rather civil society organisations in WASH or WRM.
  • The implications of the above on the WASH agenda of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its partners.

Join IRC and partners for a lively event on this topic! For more background on the event, speaker bios and event location see below.

Livestream of the event will be available starting from 17:00 on our Twitter account: @IRCWASH

Register for the event happening 20 November 2019


7AM, Buitenhof 47
2513 AH, The Hague
The Netherlands
How to get to 7AM > 



David De Armey is the Director of International Partnerships at Water for Good. He supervises the organisation's water sector partnerships in the Central African Republic. He works with the Central African water agencies, institutions and NGOs to reinforce coordination and communication to strengthen national development objectives for the water sector. David also supports coordination with the Ministry of Hydraulics at regional and national levels to generate innovative and adapted service delivery models.



Dr. Afou Chantal Bengaly is a Programme Manager at Wetlands International and lead of the Watershed programme in Mali. She has over eight years of experience planning and managing international NGO programmes and projects on various topics such as youth education, water and sanitation, integrated risk management for community resilience, peace building and good governance. Afou has significant experience in advocacy-lobbying strategy development and campaigns, community mobilisation and capacity building of civil society organisations.

Afou will be joining us online.


ele jan saaf

Ele Jan Saaf is the founder and managing director of the Dutch consultancy company SaafConsult B.V and working for Wetlands International at the Watershed programme. Over the past 24 years Ele Jan has specialised in water management for peace and climate change. Through his company he has been involved in various interventions within (transboundary) river basins in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and the Balkans, from on-the-ground consultations with communities and stakeholders through the development of practical water security plans to high-level consultancies and water diplomacy.




Annette Rozendaal-Morón is a policy officer at World Waternet, where she manages a team responsible for the Blue Deal Dji Don project in Mali, focusing on improving urban wastewater treatment. She is a Caribbean-born public policy professional with experience in multilateral-affairs, (rural) development cooperation, partnerships, (water) governance and WASH. Educated at the University of Amsterdam and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), she joined Waternet in April 2018 after working for Amref Flying Doctors and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.



Moderation and Introduction


Ingeborg Krukkert is the Lead of New Initiatives at IRC. She has 20 years of international development experience. While at IRC, Ingeborg has led the Asia and India Country Programme with a focus on sanitation and hygiene and worked with the Africa country teams on district-wide approaches related to wash-systems change. Currently, she leads a new business unit focused on new initiatives and new country programmes in Bangladesh, Benin, Mali and Niger. Her passion lies in waste, energy, climate nexuses and finding ways to engage with the private sector.




Dr Patrick Moriarty is the Chief Executive Officer of IRC. A Civil Engineer by first degree and Water Resource Management expert by main experience, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary work on water service delivery and local water governance. Patrick has over twenty years experience of a broad range of issues around water, its management and its use in improving human well-being, predominantly in Africa and South Asia.





Fragile states are developing countries that are characterised by weak state capacity or weak state legitimacy. Reasons for fragility may be manifold and can include (armed) conflict, political crises, gradual deterioration of the governance and overall poverty.

Currently, more than 40% of the world's population lives in water-scarce areas with roughly ¼ of global GDP exposed to water scarcity. Fragility poses a major global threat; droughts, floods, famines and violent conflicts are something that more and more people face than any time in the past 30 years. At the moment, around 1.8 billion people live in countries classified as the most fragile states. At the heart of this human suffering is fragility, and without action, more that 80% of the world's poorest will be living in fragile contexts by 2030.

For that reason, the policy framework 'Investing in Global Prospects' of May 2018, announced that the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) will shift its focus of development cooperation to the unstable regions of the Sahel, the Horn of Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, where many of the world's most fragile states are located.

By definition, the delivery of public services is problematic in fragile states. The delivery of such services would require a state with some capacity and legitimacy to deliver that. It is therefore not surprising that the 20 most fragile states (Fund for Peace Index, 2019) are also some of the countries with the lowest levels of access to water and sanitation services.

Addressing the situation of WASH service delivery and local Water Resource Management (WRM) in these contexts is a complex one. In the past, many donors and NGOs have simply by-passed states in these contexts, and focused on setting up parallel systems – though often limited to infrastructure development and not to service delivery. This may ultimately undermine state capacity and legitimacy even more. On the other hand, in some of the countries, the state itself may be a cause of conflict and social division.

Similarly, it is well-known that sustainable WASH service delivery and local WRM require reasonably strong systems, in terms of institutions, monitoring, financing and so on. These would – by definition – be largely lacking in fragile states. For donors and international NGOs important questions need to be answered on how to approach WASH in fragile states. Should focus be on basic infrastructure delivery outside the state structures, knowing that conditions for ongoing service delivery would be weak? Should focus be on WASH systems strengthening, knowing that these systems are likely to remain weak? Should support go to the state, or rather to civil society organisations?

Background documents

All systems go!, IRC's WASH systems symposium, focused on five thematic areas, including fragile states. Download all public Fragile states thematic areas presentations.

OECD, DAC Recommendation on the Humanitarian-Development­ Peace Nexus, OECD/LEGAL/5019

Water Global Practice. In: World Bank. 2018. Maximizing the impact of the World Bank Group in fragile and conflict-affected situations. Washington, D.C.. USA : World Bank Group. P. 206-211

Social media and event livestream

To keep up-to-date with the latest news on the WASH debate, the following social media hashtags are used: #WASHDebate and #Fragilestates.

Those not able to attend the WASH Debate in The Hague could follow the live stream on IRC's Twitter page.


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