This week Simavi will attend the attend the High Political forum of the United Nations. The high-level political forum on sustainable development will meet from Monday, 9 July, to Wednesday, 18 July 2018. 2018 HLPF reviews the implementation of SDG 6 – Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. The 2030 Sustainable Agenda is universal and transformative for all Member States. It aims to end poverty in all its forms and “shift the world on to a sustainable and resilient path” (United Nations, General Assembly, 2015a).
SDG 6 on water and sanitation provides a tremendous opportunity to accelerate progress on the 2030 Agenda, given the water sector’s central role in human rights, poverty reduction, inequality elimination, peace and justice, and the environment. For example, achieving universal access to water is linked to SDG 6 to achieve gender equality. Women and girls are responsible for water collection in 8 out of 10 households where water is not accessible in the home across 61 countries. Bringing water sources closer to people reduces the time needed to collect water and makes more time available for educational activities, especially for females. SDG 2 aims to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.
All these issues are intrinsically related to water. Water availability for agricultural activities is an essential, as approximately 70% of water withdrawals are for agriculture. Poor water, sanitation and hygiene contributes to undernutrition by causing frequent parasite infections and episodes of diarrhoea, which can result in intestinal dysfunction though chronic ingestion of pathogens. These are a few examples that illustrate the interlinked and symbiotic nature of water and sanitation to the entire 2030 Agenda.
At HLPF Simavi will host two side events:
The importance of accountability to reach SDG 6
With the Watershed consortium Simavi will co-present an important report on the implementation of accountability in 25 countries. Governments, civil society groups, development partners, and international agencies must work together, accept responsibility and give an account of why and how they have acted or failed to act in pursuit of Goal 6.
Simavi has asked Stientje van Veldhoven – whom represents the Dutch government at HLPF to have full attention for the outcomes of this research and to make sure that we can improve the role of accountability in these countries where the attention is most needed.
Simavi addresses Menstrual Hygiene at HLPF to reach SDG 6
As well Simavi will be asking attention for another subject linked to SDG6; Menstrual Health (MH). Though MH has recently gained attention in the global development agenda, it is still a taboo topic in many countries, where cultural beliefs and social norms restrict the participation of women and girls in society during menstruation. In addition, limited access to clean water, proper sanitation facilities and sanitary napkins make it difficult for women to manage their menstruation hygienically. As a result, many (young) women face considerable physical and social challenges during menstruation. Furthermore, a girl’s menstruation cultures marks her transition into womanhood. With that transition often comes a broader set of restrictions and roles that girls are expected to align to. Interventions that aim to improve women and girls’ experience of menstrual health can therefore be an opportunity to address a broader set of barriers faced and likewise tackle issues surrounding gender (in)equality.
For this transformation to happen all governments must articulate menstrual hygiene management in relevant policies. Ensuring policy changes are supported by dedicated budgets and resources for policy implementation, as well as capacity development in institutions including schools.
Simavi argues that menstruation truly matters to achieve the SDGs. While there is no specific goal or indicator on MH, menstruation is directly linked to a number of SDGS including but not limited to Goal 3; Goal 4; Goal 5; Goal 6; Goal 8; and Goal 12. As an activity under the MH Alliance, Simavi, WSSCC and other partners jointly organize a side event on MH during the week of HLPF to urge governments to take action. See our flyer here.
As a member of the Simavi team present at HLPF, Mahbuba Kumkum will join as a representative of the MH programme Ritu from Bangladesh. Ritu is the word used for season in Bangladesh and is also used to refer to a women’s period. Watch Kumkum’s video about her expectations at HLPF.