This week, the CEO of Sanitation and Water for All (SWA), Catarina de Albuquerque, is in Mali to meet with the government and other partners.
In recent years, the water, sanitation and hygiene sector in Mali has experienced significant and constant progress, with:
- An increase in the public budget for the sector
- Stronger leadership and increased collaboration between the different ministries
- Well defined multi-stakeholder approach due to the annual Consultation Framework
- Integrating mutual accountability to structure collaborative efforts
- Significant attention to regulatory aspects, and
- Launch of several new initiatives in the sector
These have made Mali one of the most dynamic countries in the SWA partnership. Mali is also a pioneer country of the Mutual Accountability Mechanism and has often been cited as an example on this international platform.
The main objectives of SWA leadership visit to Mali are:
- Mobilize the participation of the Finance Minister to participate in the Finance Ministers' Meeting, and build long-term financial support for the sector.
- Strengthen political commitment and support the visibility, organization and collaboration in the sector. Although Mali has made significant and constant progress in recent years, more actions and measures should be taken to achieve an efficient sector.
- Mobilize partners' support and align their efforts around government priorities and commitments for the sector.
- Leaving no one behind by drawing the attention of leaders to the challenges faced by the most vulnerable and marginalized communities, including minorities, women, children and the poor.
Our team will be updating this blog regularly with the latest news from the country visit.
Press Conference in Bamako
SWA team lead by Catarina de Albuquerque held a press conference in Bamako at the end of her official visit with several journalists from the RJEPA network attending the briefing. She spoke of the importance of prioritizing water and sanitation sector in Mali and of continuing the multi-stakeholder dialogue that is already underway in the country. However, she noted that there were still areas for improvement.
She stressed: "The SDGs are very ambitious and we need all the effort and political will to achieve them in such a short time - that is, 10 YEARS. »
Key objectives of this mission are:
1. Dialogue on mobilizing additional funding to reduce the financial gap, eliminate inequalities and achieve SDG6.
2. Strengthening of high-level political commitment to the sector to support visibility, organization and collaboration in the sector
3. To take stock of the progress on commitments made by Mali under SWA and mobilize support around government priorities for the sector
This visit was the 5th official SWA leadership visit after Bhutan, Peru, Colombia and Viet Nam in the last two years.
The purpose of this kind of visit helps SWA to engage with political leaders including Ministries of the sector, finance, planning, and other partners.
Meeting with the parliamentary water and sanitation network
SWA CEO, Catarina de Albuquerque had an important dialogue with the parliamentary water and sanitation network to understand the situation in Bamako and rural areas. The parliamentarians mentioned their appreciation for the work carried out by the actors in the sector especially civil society for their commitment on the ground and to always keep the network up to date on the latest news in the sector. Other important agenda items:
- National budget dedicated to the sector is very low when compared to other national projects,
- The problem of open defecation is still a reality in Mali,
- Capacity building of parliamentarians on the subject of SDGs
Bilateral Meeting with President of the National Assembly
Our CEO, Catarina de Albuquerque met with the President of the National Assembly. Subsequently, a meeting was held with water, sanitation and hygiene Parliamentary Network.
Key objectives of these meetings were:
- To take stock of the efforts made by the parliamentary group in Mali
- Understand how SWA could help in advocacy on the issue
Breakfast Meeting with technical and financial partners
This morning, the SWA team led by Catarina de Albuquerque had a breakfast meeting, hosted by the EU Embassy, with main donors also know as TPF (UNICEF, l'Union européenne, Ambassade de la Belgique, Waternet, KFW).
Key objectives of the event were:
- To strengthen the dialogue between the water, sanitation and hygiene sector in Mali (represented by the SWA Committee) and donors.
- To identify financing options (the 3T :tariffs, taxes and transfers) so as to reduce financing gap and focusing on the opportunities and challenges of the tariff structure.
- To examine the internal factors in the sector and external factors like security, climate change; which can have an impact on future projects.
- To explore further opportunities for collaboration and strengthening the existing processes.
Message of Minister of Energy and Water in Mali
At the multi-stakeholder meeting held last evening in Bamako, the Ministerial representative shared the message of the Honourable Sambou Wagué, Minister of Energy and Water, who highlighted the important work that the global partnership Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) is doing in Mali.
« The common belief of this partnership is that collaborative, multi-stakeholder and government-led decision-making processes lead to more sustainable, effective and transparent solutions that could not be achieved by Development Partners acting alone »
Multi-stakeholder dialogue on sector financing
In Mali, one of the major issue is the lack of funding in the sector. The actors present at the dialogue are currently sharing the challenges and presenting solutions on how to attract additional funding to the sector.
Multi-stakeholder dialogue in Bamako
The multi-stakeholder meeting is currently underway with 50 actors from the water, sanitation and hygiene sector in Mali. Main objectives of the meeting are to:
- Ensure that a wider WASH sector is well informed about SWA's mission and potential
- Share the work of SWA Committee in Mali to showcase how all actors are involved
- Obtain a consensus on the major work that Mali is undertaking to accelerate progress towards the SDGs
The SWA focal point in the government and Deputy National Director of the National Directorate of Hydraulics, Djoouro Bocoum, talked about Mali's engagement with SWA since 2010 and its impact on the sector. He also made a presentation on SWA commitments from different constituencies in Mali and stressed the importance of joint action by all sector actors for real progress.
Meeting with Minister of Energy and Water in Bamako
Meeting with the Minister of Energy and Water, the Honourable Sambou Wagué. SWA team discussed the main challenge- the financial gap in the sector. Mrs. Albuquerque reiterated her support to the government to advocate with other SWA partners to create more visibility around the various projects that the Ministry is undertaking or wishes to undertake. She also said in order to increase the budget envelope, Mali would have to review the tariff policy.
The Minister expressed his appreciation for all the efforts being undertaken by the SWA partnership as well as the SWA Committee of Mali. He also shared the view that tariff policy is an effective way to eliminate inequalities.
Un honneur d'avoir rencontrer le Ministre de l’Énergie et de l’Eau, l’Honorable Sambou Wagué.— Catarina de Albuquerque (@CatarinadeAlbuq) March 5, 2020
Je réitère notre soutien au gouvernement pour plaidoyer auprès des autres partenaires @sanwatforall pour créer plus de visibilité autour des projets existants et futurs.#SWAinAction pic.twitter.com/XJzaPivYIC
Intervention at technical meeting
"We cannot talk about universal access to water and sanitation without investment. The support of the sector by financial actors is essential to achieve SDG6" - Yaya Boubacar, National Director of Hydraulics
Technical meeting with line ministries
This morning, the SWA team led by Catarina de Albuquerque held a technical meeting with line ministries to discuss the financing gap in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector. Present at the meeting were the secretary General, directors, sector technical advisers of the Ministries of Energy and Water, Ministry of Environment, Sanitation and Sustainable Development and Ministry of Health.
Discussing the 3Ts (taxes, tariffs and transfers), Ms. de Albuquerque emphasized how Mali could review its tariff policy to allocate more financial means to the sector. She also cited Kenya and Egypt as examples to explain the budget strategies adopted by these countries and how some similar mechanisms can be applied in Mali.
Technical meeting with SWA Mali Committee
The technical committee meeting involves sector actors from different ministries, international organisations, civil society, private sector, and research and learning. SWA Committee also includes representatives from AMCOW, AfricaSan and GLAAS, thereby having a clear link with regional and global processes.
"I am delighted to hear that SWA's support gives you energy, but I want to say that it is the energy of your committee and the steps you are taking in Mali that inspires us and gives us the conviction that progress is possible. If we can do it in Mali we can do it elsewhere"- Catarina de Albuquerque, CEO, SWA
Additionally, sector actors have acknowledged how the use of SWA framework has "changed the rules of the game" by supporting the regular analysis of sector results, reporting back on commitments, multi-stakeholder support to government priorities, and building stronger leadership for increased collaboration between different Ministries.
Following are key discussion items from the meeting:
- Sanitation must be a key priority issue, just like water in the country. However, unlike water, sanitation is not just about building infrastructure (like toilets), community mobilization is needed for behavioural change and building awareness.
- Technical knowledge present in the country but political courage is needed more than ever to make important decisions for faster progress in the sector.
- Institutional linking is a necessity, but water, sanitation and hygiene are under three different ministries. The committee members feel that SWA collaborative behaviour has helped in increased collaboration among line ministries, however, these three priority issues are not moving at the same pace. This needs to be rectified.
SWA Mali Committee strong example of multi-stakeholder approach
Our CEO, Catarina de Albuquerque is currently meeting the SWA Committee in Mali, which involves actors from government, civil society, private sector, external support agencies and academia. This committee is an example of a strong multi-stakeholder approach which has helped the water, sanitation and hygiene sector in the country to evolve rapidly by mobilizing finance and strengthening the system.
Un grand merci au Comité SWA au #Mali de nous accueillir au pays pour cette visite officielle avec les membres du #gouvernement et tous nos #partenaires dans le secteur #eau, #assainissement et #hygiène. #SWAinAction pic.twitter.com/snlRNYgPNU— Catarina de Albuquerque (@CatarinadeAlbuq) March 4, 2020