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About us

About the SWA Global partnership

SWA is a global platform for achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 6 - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Why We Exist

SWA is a multi-stakeholder partnership of governments and their partners from civil society, the private sector, UN agencies, research and learning institutions and the philanthropic community. Partners share the belief that government-led, collaborative and multi-stakeholder decision-making leads to more effective and sustainable solutions.

Together, our partners stimulate high-level political dialogue (at both the country, regional and global levels) and coordinate and monitor progress toward the sanitation, water and hygiene-related targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

More specifically, SWA’s work focuses on encouraging and motivating partners to increase political prioritization of water, sanitation and hygiene; ensure adequate financing; and build better governance structures and institutions to achieve SDG6 by the year 2030.

SWA acts as a catalyst for change, highlighting the importance of human rights, gender equality, integrity, transparency and mutual accountability in all its work with partners.

The SWA partnership is led by a Steering Committee, supported by a Secretariat, headed by Catarina de Albuquerque, SWA‘s Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The Global Leadership Council, a group of high-level SDG 6 champions, is headed by the Honourable Kevin Rudd, titled the High-level Chair.

How SWA is organized at country level

Achieving SWA’s mission requires that the partnership be functional and effective at national level in partner countries.

To support this, SWA relies on Focal Points. Every SWA country partner has one Focal Point for each constituency represented in that country. The Focal Points:

  • Coordinate all SWA partners within their constituency to ensure their engagement in SWA multi-stakeholder activities
  • Collaborate with other Focal Points nationally, regionally and globally
  • Strengthen understanding and integration of the SWA Framework among partners

As SWA aims to support and build national processes and institutions; SWA Focal Points work with existing sector platforms and coordination structures – they specifically work to avoid duplication of existing national processes.

To reach your constituency’s Focal Point in your country, please contact the Secretariat.

Our vision

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for 

All, Always and Everywhere

Explore SWA’s milestones

  1. Two reports create a watershed moment

    2006

    The Human Development Report Beyond scarcity: Power, poverty and the global water crisis, highlights urgency to “provide an institutional point for international efforts to mobilize resources, build capacity and—above all—galvanize political action by putting water and sanitation in a more central position on the development agenda.” The UK Department for International Development (DFID) publishes report “Why we need a global action plan on water and sanitation” calling for "the Five Ones": one annual UN monitoring report; one high-level global meeting; one national water and sanitation plan per country; one water and sanitation coordinating group per country; and one lead UN body for water and sanitation.

  2. A new initiative to boost international collaboration around water, sanitation and hygiene

    2009

    First global political alliance with the goal of sustainable sanitation and water for all is created, initially known as the Global Framework for Action on Sanitation and Water Supply.

  3. A new name and milestones in high-level dialogue and accountability

    2010

    Under a new name – Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) – the partnership is formalized with a governance document, an elected Steering Committee and a Secretariat. The first of its kind, the SWA 2010 High-level Meetings bring together finance and sector ministers from 18 countries, 13 donors, seven UN agencies and civil society organizations to agree on ways to address sector bottlenecks.

  4. A growing movement for change

    2012

    At the 2012 High-level Meetings, 37 governments and 10 donors/development banks table over 400 commitments to deliver universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene. The first SWA Partnership Meeting, held in South Africa, brings together over 110 SWA partner representatives to agree on future priorities and joint activities.

  5. High-level leadership

    2013

    H.E. John A. Kufuor, former President of Ghana, appointed first Chair of SWA. First SWA Progress Update on tabled commitments supports advocacy initiatives by partners..

  6. Reinforcing political dialogue

    2014

    SWA Chair H.E. John A. Kufuor, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and President of the World Bank, Dr. Jim Yong Kim open third High-level Meetings. Countries and donors identify and commit to address key bottlenecks. This marks the third milestone meeting to increase global access to sanitation and water and builds on the continuing dialogue resulting from the 2012 Meeting and the results reported in the Progress Updates 2013 and 2014.

  7. The SDG Era: Strengthening collaboration and new strategic momentum

    2015

    Steering Committee approves SWA Strategy 2015-2020 to ensure partnership is fit for purpose after launch of the Sustainable Development Goals. Partnership develops the four SWA Collaborative Behaviours to improve the way partners work together and the sector’s long-term performance. SWA appoints second High-level Chair: the Honourable Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia,

  8. Defining the principles and tools of an efficient and collaborative sector

    2016

    The Government of Ethiopia hosts the first stand-alone Sector Ministers’ Meeting (previously back-to-back with the Finance Ministers’ Meeting), for the first time held outside Washington DC. Partners agree on a Framework for analyzing bottlenecks and identifying solutions to make progress towards the SDGs through country-level multi-stakeholder dialogue.

  9. Financing universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene

    2017

    Last joint Finance Ministers’ Meeting / Sector Ministers’ Meeting. Focus on the financial solutions that can deliver universal access and the actions agreed in 2016 during the Addis Ababa Sector Ministers’ Meeting. SWA launches SDG WASH Costing Tool, to help countries estimate the costs of achieving SDG Goals 6.1 and 6.2.

  10. Building mutual accountability

    2018

    SWA launches new Mutual Accountability Mechanism, a multi-stakeholder process that encourages multi-stakeholder alignment at national, regional and global levels. 11 countries volunteer as Pioneers. First SWA ministerial webinar focuses on challenges of making strategic use of existing financial resources – ministers from Nigeria and Eswatini present and answer participants’ questions. SWA Chief Executive Officer makes first high-level country visit, to the Kingdom of Bhutan to discuss prioritization of water, sanitation and hygiene in the country. Catarina de Albuquerque, former UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, appointed as the partnership’s first Chief Executive Officer.

  11. Enthusiastic response to call for multi-stakeholder commitments

    2019

    During the joint preparatory process of the Sector Ministers’ Meeting held in Costa Rica, 48 countries presented 159 commitments, with other partners from external support agencies, civil society, the private sector and research and learning institutions between them making a further 83 commitments at the national level to support the governments’. SC approves new strategy

Leadership

Ms. de Albuquerque joined SWA in 2014. Her priorities as CEO include providing strategic leadership to the partnership, as well as being an influential and powerful advocate for SWA and managing the Secretariat. In July 2018, following a wide-ranging governance review, SWA created the position of Chief Executive Officer and Ms de Albuquerque was chosen for the position after a competitive process.

Read more
Institutional Donors
The SWA Secretariat is supported by several institutional donors.
Governance
SWA’s partners are organized into 5 constituencies, with common interests and roles in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector.
Mutual Accountability Mechanism
SWA’s Mutual Accountability Mechanism is designed to respond to the the obligations of participation, transparency and accountability.