Long Read
19 April 2017

Simavi will represent the European Civil Society at the SWA High-level Meetings

The Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) global partnership is holding the 2017 edition of its High-level Meetings (HLM) on 19-20 April in Washington DC, USA. These meetings offer unique opportunities to make significant progress towards cross-sector collaboration and achieving access to safe, reliable, and affordable water and sanitation for all. Simavi’s Programme Director, Ewout van Galen, will attend these High-level Meetings to share Civil Society Common Messages and represent the European Civil Society.

The SWA High-Level Meetings are mainly meant for ministers to exchange both good and bad practices from their countries on how to achieve universal access to WASH services. Ministers will discuss three main questions:

1. How can the ambitious “safely managed sanitation services” (SDG 6) be achieved while reducing inequalities, given that many people still do not even have a basic level of service?
2. How can countries prepare for the impacts of climate change vulnerability, disasters and fragility to lessen negative impacts on progress towards SDG 6.1 and 6.2?
3. How can financial sustainability for water and sanitation services be achieved while increasing access for the most vulnerable and ensuring affordability?

The meetings attract global leaders in the sector. During the HLM, emphasis is placed on facilitating free-flowing discussions to exchange experiences, generate ideas, and find workable solutions. The meetings also provide a stimulus for greater interaction between Ministers of Finance and Ministers of Sanitation and Water in the lead up to the meetings and afterwards. These contacts and communication channels highlight the HLM’s potential for holding governments to policies on improving the water, sanitation and hygiene situations in their countries.

In-between the HLM, there is also time for inter-ministerial multi-regional discussions, to which ministers from around 60 countries have been invited, as well as heads of bilateral donor agencies, UN agencies, private sector partners, CSOs and research and learning institutions. We hope that these sessions will foster ideas and exchanges that will be a valuable on a global level.

Human rights to water and sanitation are crucial for achieving universal access

This year’s HLM are the first in the era of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs have considerably raised the ambition and service levels in the sector. Participants at the HLM will discuss what this means for current policies and programmes at both global and national level.

Over 60 civil society organisations who are members of SWA have prepared common messages for the High-Level Meetings. Together with John Sparks from Millenium Water Alliance, Simavi’s Programme Director Ewout van Galen will represent civil society from Australia, Europe and North America to put these messages on the agenda during the HLM. The main message is that the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation serve as a standard for addressing the needs of the most marginalized people. If we really want to leave no one behind, governments have to respect guiding principles such as affordability and accessibility.

Follow the HLM here

On behalf of the CSO constituency, Simavi’s Programme Director, Ewout van Galen, will attend these High-level Meetings to share Civil Society Common Messages and represent the European Civil Society. You can read a summary of the Common Messages here and follow Ewout’s progress in a blog series here.

If you want to learn more about the Sanitation and Water for All High-Level Meetings please visit SWA’s website.

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