Major stakeholders and players within the Water Sanitation and Hygiene-WASH Sector in Nigeria has called for a better and robust collaboration for speedy realisation and implementation of Sustainable Development Goal –Goal 6 which seeks to ensure safe and clean water for all, without leaving no one behind by 2030.
This call was made at a Youth focused Forum themed “Water For Society- Including all” yesterday 14th March 2019. The forum was put together by International Water Association Young Water Professionals Nigeria Chapter (IWA-YWP) and The Embassy of Sweden Nigeria in commemoration of 2019 World Water Day in Abuja.
According to Okechukwu Godwin Chinemerem, Chairman Steering Committee for IWA-YWP, “this Forum has become imperative to stimulate productive conversations towards ensuring actionable collaborations amongst the major players and stakeholders working in WASH sector, and particularly the Nigeria youth, in order to speed up the realisation and implementation of SDGs-Goal 6 which focuses on availability of safe and clean water for all, without leaving anyone behind”.
He added that to achieve this Global Goal 6, it would be important that all hands remained on deck, and this could only be possible through effective collaboration amongst the players in the WASH Sector.
The Forum which also featured high level panelists had the Executive Secretary, African Ministers of Council on Water, (AMCOW), Mr Canisius Kanangire, Civil Society Representatives and His Excellency the Charge de affairs Embassy of Sweden Nigeria, who gave the keynote address on the role of civil society in conserving and protecting the water bodies as well as making it available for use by all.
According to the Swedish Ambassador, “Water is essential to life, which makes it one of the essentials to humans after oxygen (Air) we breathe. The crucial role of water has led to several commitments on the part of the Embassy of Sweden by forming alliance and cooperation with other civil society’s organisations towards finding solutions to water related challenges ranging from scarcity, its quality to inadequate or its unavailability to the citizens.
He added that Swedish government just like other nations of the world, has in the last few decades renewed its committed to finding solutions to water related challenges by institutionalising a body such as the Stockholm International Water Institute through which several researchers, academia, United Nations agencies and stakeholders had gained knowledge and built capacities by participating in its conference- Stockholm Water Week, where several global issues on water are often discussed.
Cannisius Kanangire, The AMCOW Executive Secretary who also spoke extensively on several issues and challenges confronting the water and Sanitation Sector in Africa and possible ways to overcome these challenges said the role of young people in changing the narratives within the WASH Sector cannot be over-emphasised.
“Young people in Africa have crucial role to play particularly in creating awareness and advocacy for workable public policies that would fast-track the implementation of SDGs Goal 6 before 2030, most importantly at the rural communities where access to potable water, basic sanitation and hygiene still remains poor”.
“We all need to remember that time is no longer on our side, we only have few years left before 2030 to realising this goal”, he remarked.
Kannagire stated that it would be a wasted effort and even disastrous, if we are unable to realise these Global Goals by 2030 same way most African countries failed woefully in realising the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) before 2015.