June 11, 2011
With barely four years to the 2015 United Nations deadline for the achievement of provisions outlined in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Sub-Saharan Africa’s beacon of democracy Ghana would still need about 40 years to reach at least a 50 percent MDG target.
The country according to the Coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) sector in Ghana sources is the second behind Mali another West-African country on the ladder of countries which were performing poorly in the attainment of the MDGs on sanitation.
Without significant improvements in water and sanitation access and hygiene practices the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) related to child mortality, primary education, disease reduction, environmental sustainability and poverty eradication will not be achieved.
Hence media experts who attended a “Right to Water and Sanitation” workshop, have urged government and its allied agencies in the water and sanitation (WASH) sector, to provide the needed finance, logistics and managerial competence to enhance peoples accessibility to potable water and good sanitary conditions in rural and urban Ghana.
The participants believe that these factors harmonized with technology would alleviate the about five million Ghanaians who do not have access to potable water and the over 19 million persons without sanitation facilities from their current quagmire, respectively.
During plenary in Accra on Friday June 10, 2011, the WASH experts mainly from the Ghana Water and Sanitation Network (GWJN), also identified the deepening of knowledge to the citizens for them uphold their right to proper water and sanitation facilities always as the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) reaches its 2015 deadline.
These goals are a set of agreed UN benchmarks that global leaders have rectified to serve as guide towards development in their various countries. For instance Goal 7 on “Ensuring Environmental Sustainability” calls for the halving of human population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation facilities by 2015.
The objectives of the workshop as indicated by the Executive Secretary of the Coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations in the Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), Ben Arthur was mainly to solicit views from participants on how best to improve the WASH sector in Ghana and also share knowledge.
In his opening remarks he said that Ghana has rectified all international treaties which uphold government and stakeholders to make water accessible and affordable to all hence there was no excuse for the low projections and outcomes in the sector.
“Statistics available indicate that Ghana was the second country in Sub-Sahara Africa with the poorest sanitary conditions.” This situation the CONIWAS boss said was uncalled for and needed to be averted.
“Ghana has achieved only 13 percent out of at least a 50 percent MDG target on sanitation,” to say and as such Mr. Arthur believed noted that the country would need about 40 years to critically avert the situation entirely.
He therefore called for increase budget and monetary allocation to the sector from government to improve conditions.
A WASH consultant, Patrick Apoya also encouraged the media to propagate the issues related to the sector to address the enormous problems so as to make potable water and good sanitary conditions and facilities to all and sundry.
“The citizens should be educated about their right to water to enable them advocate for it at all cost,” he said.
He noted that CONIWAS and other stakeholders would not relent on their ores to achieve the WASH agenda hence the collaboration with the media.
“The right to water requires that all stakeholders take steps to the maximum of available resources to progressively realize the right,” he indicated.
The workshop was organized by CONIWAS and sponsored by Water Aid in Ghana and the Center on Human Rights and Eviction.