There are lots of "high-level meetings" in Washington, but this weekend's High Level Meeting on Sanitation and Safe Water for All deserves more than the usual cynicism. For the first time ever, Finance and Water Ministers from around the world are gathering together to focus on that most basic of all human needs -- water -- and that least appealing of all causes -- sanitation. (The mind races at how this meeting might be abbreviated, but this is a family blog.)
Billions of people worldwide lack access to safe drinking water and sanitation. Improving access will not only save lives, it can also increase education rates, reduce poverty and drive economic growth. A basic building block of progress.
The High-Level Meeting is part of the Global Framework for Action, a global partnership that convenes national governments, donors and development partners to drive progress towards achieving universal and sustainable access to sanitation and drinking water.
We should applaud those involved in this effort for their leadership in addressing gaps in policy, planning, financing, and technical assistance, all of which have slowed progress toward this critical issue.
Investments in water, sanitation and hygiene have immediate benefits for children's health, survival and long term development. While working towards long-term change in infrastructure and health systems, we should prioritize the funding and implementation of integrated packages of cost-effective child health and water, sanitation and hygiene interventions available today.
Local governments and communities in the South can lead the implementation of practical and sustainable projects that meet their needs. The Global Framework supports this approach and encourages strong national sanitation and water planning to ensure the effective use of donor and national resources for sanitation and water.
Do your part: follow the outcomes of this meeting, encourage the US and other donor governments to strongly support the Global Framework for Action, and drive change on this issue that virtually everyone reading this post takes for granted....
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