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SWA strengthening Civil Society participation in regional forums

Sanitation and Water for All Secretariat
02 May 2019


Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) global partnership has been supporting its Civil Society Constituency to push for stronger accountability mechanisms at the regional, national and global level. In 2018, SWA supported a study named, ‘Global Review of National Accountability Mechanisms for SDG6’ to evaluate the nature of existing national accountability mechanisms as well as the challenges and opportunities to strengthen them. This review led to global and national recommendations that were made, in 25 countries on how to reinforce existing mechanisms.

The process and the results of the study aims to strengthen the capacity of civil society to advocate for stronger and effective national accountability mechanisms. These efforts by SWA has helped its Civil Society partners in developing their regional and national advocacy strategies, developing common messages, improve their organization’s accountability and visibility in various regional and national forums.


Based on the results of the Accountability study, SWA civil society partner– Freshwater Action Network South Asia (FANSA), along with its national chapters, pushed for commitments to be tabled at SACOSAN. Their advocacy efforts allowed governments to table commitments focused on SWA collaborative behaviours and on sector strengthening. As a follow-up to SACOSAN, SWA supported FANSA to hold a regional meeting with key CSOs in the region in August 2018 (Sri Lanka). In this meeting, FANSA developed a regional advocacy strategy that aims to review the progress on the commitments and link them with other processes such as the SWA accountability mechanism.


SWA has supported its members the African Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW), a regional networking body of African CSOs, involved in the field of sustainable water management, water supply and sanitation. SWA is working closely with ANEW to strengthen its organizational governance, for the network to play an active role in holding governments accountable and also drawing links between AfricaSan and the SWA Sector Ministers Meeting and commitments. Simavi present at AfricaSan, as SWA CSO representative from the Netherlands, organized a side event­- ‘Civil Society Dialogue’, which was also attended by some of the ministers’ from African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW). Sareen Malik, SWA CSO regional steering committee member and coordinator of ANEW opened this side event on ‘Civil Society Dialogue’ and along with SIMAVI promoted key recommendations from the accountability study. During this event, AMCOW invited African CSOs to work in collaboration with national governments to realize Ngor commitments and especially, support governments to develop new guidelines for the Sanitation Policy for Africa. ANEW is seen by AMCOW as a voice of African WASH CSOs, and it also participated in producing the AfricaSan Multi-Stakeholder Statement.


SWA pushed for civil society representation, even at the planning stages of LatinoSAN and sponsored CSOs to attend its planning meeting. SWA supported Asociación Regional Centroamericana para el Agua y el Ambiente (ARCA) to conduct a webinar to define common messages for LatinoSAN and to organize the CSO delegation of more than 10 representatives from the region. The messages which underlined SWA main collaborative behaviors and the SWA CSO constituency messages were shared at the meeting. The messages on accountability were included in the official Declaration of San José.