On the occasion of the 8th sub-regional workshop for exchange of practices and strengthening of capacities of the West and Central African Water and Sanitation civil society groups, the “Francophone African Alliance for Water and sanitation » (“Alliance d’Afrique Francophone pour l’eau et l’assainissement” – AAFEA) was launched. Co-organized by the Coalition Eau in Dakar, Senegal, from 18 to 22 June 2019, this 8th workshop was a key event to bring together and mobilize African NGOs/CSOs to accelerate the achievement of the SDG6.
35 participants, including from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Chad, Togo, participated in this workshop, co-organized by Coalition Eau (French NGOs collective), Congad (Senegalese NGOs collective), the Platform of water and sanitation CSOs in Senegal (POSCEAS) and SPONG (Burkina Faso NGO collective). The workshop was supported by many partners: Action Against Hunger, IRC, Niyel, Sanitation and Water for All, Water Integrity Network, WSSCC.
Focused on the theme “On the road to Dakar 2021: Mobilizing Water and Sanitation NGOs/CSOs in the Sub-region for achieving SDG 6 “, the workshop enabled to come to many results:
Sharing advocacy experiences betweend ngo/cso collectives
The collectives shared their national experiences to strengthen citizen control and accountability on the Sustainable Development Goal 6. Among the many shared initiatives:
- In Benin, the CANEA (The Non State Actors Framework for Water and Sanitation) has strengthened municipalities and stakeholders in terms of integrity and accountability.
- In Burkina, SPONG (Permanent Secretariat of NGOs) advocated for the adoption of the Human Rights-Based Approach to Water and Sanitation and the Service Approach in the public programs of the sector.
- In Guinea, the NGO Carbone Guinée led the establishment of an informal national coalition of civil society organisations active in the field of water and sanitation.
- In Senegal, CONGAD has strengthened the dialogue between CSOs and the State as part of the implementation of SDG6 through the organization of a national workshop to strengthen CSOs and the creation of POSCEAS (platform for CSO on water and sanitation in Senegal).
- In Togo, the CCEABT (Framework for Consultation on Water and Basic Sanitation in Togo) organized training sessions for its members on citizen control of public action across the country.
- In Mali, CN-CIEPA participated in the prepation process of the ministerial meeting of the Sanitation and Water for All Partnership held in Costa Rica in April 2019.
Developing a sub-regional advocacy and mobilization strategy
Group work provided an opportunity to reflect on the messages and common advocacy issues of African NGOs / CSOs. The objective? Define a common advocacy and mobilization programme to accelerate the implementation of SDG6 in the subregion.
The collectives decided to prioritize the following 3 issues:
- Achieve the human right to water and sanitation (HRWS) for all, leaving no one behind
- Allocate sufficient, appropriate, transparent funding that meets actual needs
- Ensure proper governance of the sector, including participation and accountability
Many activities were identified like : civil society trainings on these issues, the preparation of a status report on the recognition of HRTWS in West and Central Africa, national budgets analysis reports, alternative civil society reports (blue books, accountability studies), advocacy towards governments and parliamentarians, participation in dialogue mechanisms, etc.
These activities will be further developed by working groups to define a common advocacy and mobilization programme by the end of 2019.
Successful participation in the Kick-off meeting of the 9th World Water Forum
At the same time as the workshop, the Kick-off meeting of the preparatory process for the 9th World Water Forum (WWF), which will take place in Senegal in 2021, was held in Dakar.
In preparation for this meeting, the collectives prepared common messages in order to :
- Promote major topics in the thematic framework of the Forum: human rights to water and sanitation, financing, good governance, meeting already existing commitments, taking into account sanitation, access to basic services in humanitarian crises, promotion of multi-sectoral approaches and IWRM.
- Define their expectations for the 9th World Water Forum in 2021: Ensure effective participation of civil society; ensure principled functioning of the Forum both in its preparation and in its running; improve the concrete impacts of the Forum; and, finally, promote implementation of a UN intergovernmental space for monitoring SDGs related to water and sanitation, which would be distinct from World Water Forums.
The coordinated participation of the AAFEA representatives allowed for a high visibility of the African civil society and the inclusion of many of these messages in the Kick off meeting conclusions.
In addition, contacts have also been established with the organizers of the World Alternate Water Forum, which will take place in parallel to the WWF in 2021.
A joint final declaration
At the end of the workshop, the participants adopted a joint declaration presenting, on the one hand, the major thematic messages identified during the workshop with a view to accelerating the achievement of the water SDGs in the sub-region, and, on the other hand, expectations for the 9th World Water Forum. These messages have also been widely covered by the press and television channels (see, for example, the Senegalese News Agency article here).
On this occasion, the new name of this sub-regional dynamic was also adopted, the « Francophone African Alliance for Water and Sanitation », whose French acronym “AAFEA” recalls the Wolof word “aafiya” which means “peace”.