Marrakesh — A side event to discuss water and sanitation was held on the sidelines of the Africa Regional Forum for Sustainable Development (ARFSD2019) under the theme 'Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality' - Building on the interlinkages between Water and Sanitation and the SDGs under review at the high level political forum 2019.
The event was organized to build on the global Synthesis Report on SDG 6 (UN, 2018) which is a UN-Water report that was coordinated by UNESCO WWAP and benefitted by contributions from 13 UN Agencies and many others international organizations.
Specifically, it was held to deliberate on the African Regional Policy paper on SDG 6 inter-linkages by the delegates and institutional representatives at the 5th ARFSD.
The focus was on the Inter-linkages of SDG 6 (Water) with the SDG 4 (quality education), SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), SDG 10 (reduced inequalities), SDG 13 (climate action) and SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions), in addition to SDG 17 (partnerships).
There are strong interlinkages between these SDGs and water and understanding them is of particular importance for priority setting and policy coherence and effectiveness at regional and national scale, participants agreed.
Integrated approaches that consider many - ideally all - dimensions of sustainable development need to be implemented in practice, they said.
Water is an important enabler to make progress in many other SDGs of the 2030 Agenda as well as in the Africa Water Vision 2025 and the Agenda 2063. This was also clearly highlighted in two strong case studies from Ethiopia and Uganda. A case study on rainwater harvesting showcased one practical solution to cope with increasing water scarcity and improve water access for all.
Ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education is not possible without access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene in schools. Therefore, policy makers should ensure that no schools are established without safe water and sanitation services with regular maintenance funding as part of its recurrent budget, and hygiene should be (re-)introduced as a compulsory and practical subject from pre-school onwards.
The side event was organized by WWAP, ECA, UNESCO Regional Office for Africa and UN Water.