The Democratic Republic of the Congo has prepared a national water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) framework programme, the Programme National Eau–Hygiene–Assainissement (PNEHA). According to the Vice Prime Minister, also in charge of the Ministry of Planning, which led the development of the PNEHA, this Programme is “the only transversal and federating framework for the sector, in which all the actions concerning water, hygiene and sanitation are articulated”.
The drafting and validation process was officially closed during a ceremony on 16 December 2019, presided by a representative of the Vice Prime Minister and a representative of the President of the Republic, and including sector actors – General secretaries and directors of sector Ministries, donors and several provinces. The ceremony was covered in the national press, both print and broadcast media.
The drafting of the PNEHA involved all sector-related ministries, as well as an advisor of the President. The closing ceremony of the PNEHA marks the successful achievement of a commitment tabled by the DRC as part of the SWA’s Mutual Accountability Mechanism in May 2019. This success was achieved in a mere 4 months since the beginning of the drafting process in July 2019.
The SWA Secretariat was invited to remotely join several national consultations and was represented at the closing ceremony by a member. The activities prior to the closing ceremony focused on encouraging multi-stakeholder collaboration in the sector; operationalisation of the PNEHA; and discussions with stakeholders on the importance of having a sector vision that all partners collaboratively work towards. As part of the mission, the SWA Secretariat member met with the Vice Prime Minister; the advisor of the President who supported the PNEHA drafting process; the CNAEHA, the National Committee for action on WASH; sector directors from the different Ministries (water resources, water supply, hygiene and sanitation); major donors (GIZ, USAID, and the World Bank, in addition to attending a meeting of the WASH Donor Group); technical support lead, UNICEF; the entity in charge of SDG reporting (OCDD) and the Université Pédagogique Nationale. During the closing ceremony, the SWA Secretariat representative delivered some remarks on behalf of the SWA's CEO, Catarina de Albuquerque. “The SWA Secretariat representative’s mission to DRC helped advocate for the PNEHA with the sector actors, notably the concerned ministries and the donors. The SWA can help the DRC in the operationalisation of the PNEHA by sharing international experiences. The SWA CEO’s statement at the closing ceremony was well appreciated,” said Jeff Bafambembe, Executive Secretary of the CNAEHA, and government focal point SWA.
The new government, which took office early 2019, embarked on the development of a new framework which lays out the vision, aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals. The PNEHA constitutes a crucial step forward for the sector in the DRC and is a foundation for alignment of efforts towards realizing the sector vision. The sector has been given a fresh momentum thanks to the support provided by the President of the country.