Africa off target in achieving 2030 sanitation and hygiene commitments

Agriculture, Water and Land Reform Minister Calle Schlettwein has expressed concern that Africa is still far off target in achieving the Ngor commitments and leveraging investments in meeting objectives of safely managed sanitation and hygiene.

The Ngor Declaration on Sanitation and Hygiene was adopted during the fourth AfricaSan Conference in Dakar, Senegal, in 2015.

The commitments, according to the minister, are in line with Sustainable Development Goal 6.2, which seeks to achieve universal access to adequate and sustainable sanitation and hygiene services and to eliminate open defecation by 2030.

Schlettwein was speaking on Monday during the opening of the seventh Africa Sanitation and Hygiene Conference (AfricaSan7) taking place in Swakopmund.

“Against this background, the AfricaSan7 Conference therefore seeks to strengthen partnerships, drive knowledge exchange and sustain efforts in advancing the progress in achieving the Ngor commitments. The conference also seeks to catalyse action on research and innovation, technology, capacity development, hygiene and behaviour change, gender mainstreaming and other inclusive approaches to sanitation development,” he said.

Erongo Governor Neville Andre Itope noted that about 10 per cent of households in the region do not have toilet facilities, with only about 5 per cent in urban areas, while 53 per cent in rural areas do not have toilet facilities.

“Similarly, there is still a clear difference of flushing toilets and regular garbage collection in urban and rural areas in the Erongo Region, however, we are happy to inform you that some dry pit latrines have been constructed in our rural areas of the region as well as improvement of sewerage systems in our settlement areas to address sanitation,” he said.

Itope complimented the Namibian Government for its commitment to improve sanitation through various initiatives such as budgetary allocation and a department solely committed to sanitation, which is further streamlined to regional and local authority levels.

The bi-annual conference is convened by the African Ministers’ Council on Water and the Commission of the African Union. It brings together over 500 key stakeholders such as government officials, municipal leaders, heads of utilities and development partners.

The conference is taking place under the theme ‘Strengthening Systems and Partnerships for Accelerated Action on Safely Managed Sanitation and Hygiene.’

Source: Namibian Press Agency