At the 2014 SWA High Level Meeting (HLM), ministers for finance, water, sanitation and development cooperation from developing countries tabled 319 individual commitments designed to speed up access for the 2.5 billion people lacking improved sanitation and the 748 million people without improved drinking water.
On Friday, 11 April, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, World Bank Group President Dr. Jim Yong Kim and SWA Chair John Kufuor led the third biennial HLM, held at the World Bank in Washington DC. They noted the vast health, economic, social and environmental consequences of poor water, sanitation and hygiene, and called their meeting an important step forward.
“At the beginning of this meeting, I challenged the ministers in this room to make concrete and practical commitments,” said Kufuor, the former president of Ghana. “I am now more confident than ever, that our name – Sanitation and Water for All – will become our achievement.”
The meeting yielded 316 new individual actionable commitments by countries and 59 commitments by donors. Broadly speaking, the commitments aim to increase the amount and improve the use of financial resources, reduce inequality in access, build capacity of institutions charged with delivering water and sanitation services, and coordinate resources more effectively, both from governments and external aid.
The 2014 SWA High Level Meeting was preceded by a preparatory session at the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO). That meeting brought government ministers responsible for water, sanitation - including health ministers - together with other SWA partner representatives and civil society organisations to review progress against commitments made at the 2012 SWA High Level Meeting and table new commitments.