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Finance ministers meet to bridge SDG 6 financing gap

Published on: 24/03/2017

Sanitation and Water for All holds high-level event during the World Bank's Spring Meetings.

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The World Bank estimates an annual need of US$ 114 billion between now until 2030 to meet the sanitation and hygiene targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 6), three times the current investment levels. At the SWA High-level Meetings (HLMs), finance ministers will seek to identify solutions to close this financing gap. The meeting will cover the magnitude of the financial challenge, how to use existing resources more efficiently, and how to access additional resources, focusing on domestic sources.

The 2017 SWA partnership HLMs will comprise a Finance Ministers’ Meeting (FMM), convened by the World Bank on behalf of the SWA partnership, on 20 April; and a Sector Ministers’ Meeting (SMM) on 19 and 20 April, convened by UNICEF, involving those ministers responsible for water, sanitation and hygiene who have accompanied their finance counterparts. They will take place in Washington D.C., USA, during the World Bank’s Spring Meetings.

Sector ministers attending the SMM will exchange ideas and experiences in institution and capacity building, planning, and monitoring, in part to inform the discussions at the FMM.

Ministers need to answer tough questions on financing SDG 6

There are three questions every government needs to answer if they want to achieve universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene: 

  1. How can the ambitious “safely managed sanitation services” (SDG 6) be achieved while reducing inequalities, given that many people still do not even have a basic level of service?
  2. How can countries prepare for the impacts of climate change vulnerability, disasters and fragility to lessen negative impacts on progress towards SDG 6.1 (drinking water) and 6.2 (sanitation and hygiene)?
  3. How can financial sustainability for water and sanitation services be achieved while increasing access for the most vulnerable and ensuring affordability?

Ministers from around the world will address these questions at the upcoming SWA partnership High-level Meetings.

Countries not meeting financing commitments

At the biennial HLMs, countries and external support agencies each agree on a set of commitments aimed to accelerate progress towards universal access to sanitation and water. SWA has just published a global report on progress made by partners on the commitments they made at the 2014 High-level Meeting. Thirty-eight of the 43 countries and all 12 external support agencies reported their progress.

Unfortunately, countries reported slow or no progress on 68% of their commitments relating to financing. The exceptions were Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Lao PDR, Niger, Rwanda and Sri Lanka, which all successfully completed or made good progress on their commitment to increase sector funding for sanitation and water within the national budgets. Cameroon has increased their budget, but not succeeded in doubling it, as committed.

The African Development Bank, France, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the USA were successful or showed good progress in meeting their commitments to increase funding for water and sanitation. France and Sweden had problems meeting their commitments due to a lack of capacity within recipient countries to manage the funding.

The Collaborative Behaviours

Building sustainable water and sanitation sector financing strategies is one of SWA's Four Collaborative Behaviours for effective, equitable and sustainable development cooperation in the WASH sector. IRC and partners Aguaconsult, WaterAid, Water For People, have jointly committed to these Collaborative Behaviours as part of their Agenda for Change initiative. 

IRC is a Research and Learning partner of Sanitation and Water for All. CEO Patrick Moriarty is attending the 2017 High-level Meeting as a representative of the Research and Learning constituency in SWA's Steering Committee. IRC Associate Erma Uytewaal is attending as a representative of the Research and Learning constituency and as a member of SWA's Country Processes Task Team (CPTT).

Read more about the 2017 High-level Meetings on the SWA website.

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