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Lest we forget: investment in hygiene, sanitation and water key to fighting COVID-19 – Part 4

Sitali Muyatwa, Head of SWA Secretariat Country Engagement Team
24 Sep 2020

Opportunities for all stakeholders, led by governments, to find joint solutions and bend the arc of history. 

The Sanitation and Water for All  partnership has identified investing in water, sanitation and hygiene as a paramount goal which is critical to achieving several targets at once during the current and future pandemics. The partnership has engaged ministers responsible for water, sanitation and hygiene in critical discussions to ensure they have the right information to make the right decisions and invest in these issues during COVID19. But these ministers on their own cannot bend the arc of history towards a more equitable society where there is water, sanitation and hygiene for everyone, always, and everywhere.  

To complement their efforts, the partnership is working with global and regional organizations including the World Bank, UNICEF, Asia, Africa and Inter-American Development Banks, and the African Ministers Council on Water, to organize meetings for ministers of finance and their counterparts in health, water, sanitation and hygiene. 

Between November and December 2020, SWA will hold three virtual Regional Finance Ministers’ Meetings for Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. Ministers will discuss very practical solutions to ensure they are making smart investments in a time of constricted budgets and austerity. They will look at real examples where the economic opportunities offered by investing in water, sanitation and hygiene are maximized.  Some of the examples will be drawn from a handbook for finance Ministers which was launched at the beginning of September 2020. 

The HandbookWater & Sanitation: How to Make Public Investment Work - A Handbook for Finance Ministersgives practical financing approaches to achieve the water, sanitation and hygiene targets of the sustainable development goals (SDGs). It demonstrates how to deliver greater efficiencies in the sector and remove obstacles to securing finance for costs of service delivery, expansion, quality improvement, or asset rehabilitation. Ministers can use the handbook to overcome these inherently political challenges which require both sector minister and finance ministers to work together.  

The SWA Secretariat is currently working with partners to use both the Handbook and the upcoming meetings to secure concrete ministerial support for water, hygiene and sanitation during and after COVID19. SWA partners are also being engaged and are expected to demonstrate their support by making and following through on commitments to achieving strong systems and financing for water, sanitation and hygiene. SWA works with a mutual accountability mechanism which places emphasis on actions of governments and all other partners because no one institution can bend the arc of history towards more equitable services for all.  

Governments and their partners must invest in water, sanitation and hygiene as if our lives depend on them, because, well, they do! 


Read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of this blog series.