MONROVIA, LIBERIA-The Liberian Government has made a commitment to the United Nations (UN) to advance the implementation of existing water goals and targets to improve the country’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector.
Government assured the world body of supporting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by accelerating progress over the second half of the Water Action Decade.
The country’s commitment to the UN was contained in a special message by President George Weah for the UN 2023 Water Conference on the Mid-term Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the Objectives of the International Decade for Action.
Delivering the President’s message, Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Sarah Fyneah, said:” The Liberian Government is committed to improving WASH, because the sector is crucial to human, social, economic and infrastructure development.”
“In our national capacity, we further commit to undertaking intentional strides to universal assess by 2030 and equitable, safe, affordable and sustainable water supply and sanitation services for all Liberians,” Ambassador Fyneah told the conference.
The Liberian Government Compact 2023 Commitments assured of establishing WASH sector within the national budget, and direct all related funding through its allocated budget line as the first step towards the One WASH program and improve the country’s monitoring mechanism at national, county, district, and community level to allow for an accurate and coordinated institutional planning and review under the program.
The Liberian Representative to the UN also reminded the world body of challenges that need to be overcome to ensure the objectives of the Water Action Decade are realize, particularly in least develop countries that are impacted the most by climate extremes and water related disasters.
Ambassador Fyneah added: “We believe that enhanced cooperation and partnerships that prioritizes assistance to developing countries through financing, knowledge and skill sharing will enhance their capacities to facility progress.”
Meanwhile, civil society organizations working in the WASH sector have hailed the Liberian Government for the submission of a comprehensive commitment to the United Nations.
Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) Liberia CSO Focal Point, Timothy Kpeh, who attended the just ended UN 2023 Water Conference as part of the Liberian delegation, stressed the need for the commitment to be used as an instrument to prioritize WASH in Liberia.
“As we get back to Liberia, we’re going to inform the entire civil society of the WASH sector to ensure that they’re aware of those commitments that were submitted, and the kind of actions that we need to take to track the implementation of those commitments,” Mr. Kpeh noted.
In a dispatch from the United States, Mr. Kpeh also called on the UN to ensure a strong accountability mechanism to strengthen national systems and structures to guarantee the rights of people to WASH globally.
He lauded SWA and WaterAid Liberia for supporting efforts of the local civil society to attend the international conference. The UN 2023 Water Conference which lasted from March 22-24 in New York saw the submission of over 600 voluntary commitments for the Water Action Agenda regarding the use of water and its sanitation and curbing the water and sanitation crisis.
At the conference, the global civil society groupings called for greater accountability, rigor, and ambition in the outcomes of the UN 2023 Water Conference and the Water Action Agenda, expressing grave concern that without the UN decisive action, the UN Water Conference 2023 and the Water Action Agenda will fail to secure the more just, resilient, and sustainable water future that the world so urgently needs.
The African Civil Society Network for Water and Sanitation, Water Witness International (UK), Shahidi wa Maji (Tanzania), Kenya Water and Sanitation Network (Kenya), Water Integrity Network (Germany), End Water Poverty, Representatives of global civil society, water users, water management and research community on water, sanitation and hygiene presented a statement to the United Nations.
In the statement, the groups said humanity faces massive and unprecedented climate-induced disruption to global water systems, and progress on delivering the water-related Sustainable Development Goals is shamefully inadequate.
It added that as a result, half of the global population face water stress by 2025, many millions of people, particularly women and girls, are locked into a life of ill-health and lost opportunity, and the catastrophic loss of ecosystems gains pace.
The statement urged the world body to demonstrate bold leadership to dramatically raise the level of accountability, rigor and ambition within the Conference outcomes to reflect the gravity and urgency of the global water challenges.