Malawi, South Sudan launch water initiatives

Malawi, South Sudan launch water initiatives

Malawi and South Sudan have launched Presidential Compacts on Water and Sanitation in a bid to ensure universal access to water and sanitation.

The initiative seeks to improve public health, end open defaecation and increase climate resilience.

A woman draws water from one of the kiosks

A statement dated August 21 issued at the ongoing Stockholm World Water Week, which has gathered thousands of international leaders and experts this week to address the water and sanitation crisis, says the pacts are part of the ‘Heads of State Initiatives’ project, a groundbreaking effort aimed at advancing water and sanitation services worldwide.

Reads the statement in part: “The compacts are built upon clear commitments that encompass increased budget allocations, innovative sources of financing, and comprehensive plans for the construction of vital water and sanitation infrastructure.

“For Malawi, in support of the $145 million in funding received from the World Bank, the compact will provide a blueprint for rebuilding water and sanitation infrastructure and enhancing climate resiliency following the devastation from Cyclone Freddy.”

Speaking during the launch, United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) deputy executive director (programmes) Omar Abdi said empowering children with access to safe water and sanitation is not just a commitment, but a testament to a brighter, healthier future.

He said: “As governments unite in their pledge to increase access to these basic necessities, we provide not only access to safe water services and sanitation, but bridges to a world where children can thrive without the risk of waterborne disease or compromise their learning or safety while collecting water.”

Sanitation and Water for All Global Partnership (SWA) chief executive officer Catarina de Albuquerque said to achieve water and sanitation for all by 2030, countries need roughly a six-fold increase in current rates of progress.

She said: “However, we won’t get there without ambition, action and accountability from Presidents and Prime Ministers. Clean water and sanitation are fundamental human rights and essential for achieving secure stable resilient futures for every country.”

The compact in Malawi will help work on the five-year Malawi Water and Sanitation Project-1 (MWSP-1) project targeting close to 480 000 people and is run by Blantyre Water Board (BWB), Blantyre City Council and Ministry of Water and Sanitation.

Earlier, BWB chief executive officer Robert Hanjahanja described MWSP-1 as “a game-changer”, noting, it will raise the city’s water and sanitation standards which in recent years have gone down.

He said: “We are actually very excited as Blantyre Water Board that for the first time in a long time we are working together with Blantyre City Council to bring improvements to this city.”

Stockholm World Water Week is the leading annual event on global water issues organised by the Stockholm International Water Institute (Siwi). It provides a platform for experts, decision-makers and innovators to exchange ideas, foster new thinking, and develop solutions to the most pressing water-related challenges.

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