THE Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, Calle Schlettwein, said that there are a number of huge obstacles, ranging from funding to a lack of coordination, that hinder the achievement of continental and global water and sanitation goals.
Schlettwein highlighted these obstacles during a Development Partner Coordination Framework meeting at the Stockholm World Water Week that took place in Sweden, where he acknowledged that progress has been made towards the achievement of water and sanitation goals, but much still has to be done.
One of the obstacles that he highlighted is that there is a funding gap of US$43 billion between what is needed to achieve water and sanitation goals and what they have.
Besides this, he said that significant shortages are anticipated for additional operational funding required to maintain and operate the assets necessary for an objective of this magnitude.
He added that data from the African Water and Sanitation Sector Monitoring and Reporting system (WASSMO) indicates that there are also significant challenges in translating the commitments into impact.
“A key element underlying the progress reported on implementation of the commitments is inadequate sector financing. Domestic allocations and national investments into the sector are reported as significantly lower than the agreed targets of the eThekwini PANAFCON and Ngor declarations,” he explained.
Schlettwein further noted that the Official Development Assistance (ODA) constitute a major extra budgetary financial resources inflow to the sector, but the contribution of the ODA in Africa is not known with any degree of certainty. This, he said, is because of the differences in approaches among Development Partners.
Furthermore, he said that the potential of the impact from the resources invested is not realised, partly due to the absence of institutionalised mechanisms to streamline efforts.
He added that Development Partners have different sets of conditionalities attached to disbursement or procurement, which recipient countries often struggle to fulfil. According to him, this typically leads to underperformance or non-performance.
“Many of our organisations are already providing a lot of technical and financial support to the water and sanitation sector in Africa. But it appears that such effort is not coordinated, and consequently our collective efforts lack impact,” he said.
Schlettwein therefore emphasised that there is a need for a Continental Framework that will effectively track the utilisation of ODA to the water and sanitation sector. He added that this will also strengthen accountability and coordination as well as aligning procurement rules with national systems.
Agriculture ministers says continental and global water and sanitation goals are hindered by funding. Photo: Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform.