End Water Poverty – Post-2015 Blog Week Summary

Written by Jen Williams of End Water Poverty.

When End Water Poverty decided to hold a post-2015 blog week, my main hope was that our guest bloggers would be able to shed some light on the decision making process for the post-2015 development agenda. There are numerous conversations going on about what the post-2015 agenda should look like, but how this decision making process will take place and how we can input was still unclear to many of our members.

The MDGs were written by a small, elite group of UN officials meaning that the voices of citizens around the world were not heard. This time, we have been told that the UN wants to ensure that the process is open, participatory and inclusive. But what does this mean?

End Water Poverty members wanted to clarify what this process will look like and how we can ensure we get our voices heard by the right people at the right time. Who makes the final decision? Which meetings are the most important? How can we make sure water and sanitation get the attention they deserve?

Although our blog week didn’t answer all of our questions completely, it certainly ensured that we felt much more informed about the process going forward. Gerard Vives from Beyond 2015 explained that ‘the UN are putting into place a participative process involving national, thematic and online consultations’ which will take place between now and September 2013. Gerard emphasized the importance of civil society inputting into these consultations to bring their voices to the forefront. To find out more about how to get involved, please visit www.beyond2015.org   or download our guide for End Water Poverty members here.

We also heard from Guy Hutton, Coordinator of JMP Post-2015 Process, and Tom Slaymaker from WaterAid who shed some further light on what’s going on around WASH. Their blogs let our members  know that four working groups containing global experts in their respective fields have been working to suggest options for how sanitation, water, hygiene, and equity and non-discrimination can be included in the post-2015 agenda through appropriate targets and indicators. And a consultation took place last month, which our members were able to participate in, to input into these draft proposals. These suggestions will be presented at the UN General Assembly when the broader future development framework will be discussed in September 2013.

So, once we knew a bit more about the process, we were able to focus more on how this post-2015 framework should look. And we were lucky enough to get blogs from a variety of different development INGOs to find out how they hoped to see their development area included. There were so many great blogs, so do check them all out, but here’s a snapshot from some of the best:

If people with disabilities are again excluded from the new post 2015 framework, we will have to call it discrimination (some people already use this term to describe the non-inclusion of people with disabilities in the MDG agenda). Ensuring people with disabilities are mainstreamed in the global efforts to provide water and sanitation to everyone, is not only an issue, of survival, it is an issue of breaking the cycle of exclusion and poverty.  Inequalities must be addressed in the next post 2015 framework and clean water and sanitation must be made accessible for all.

Marion Steff, PhD, Policy Advisor for Social Inclusion and Helen Hamilton is Policy Advisor for Neglected Tropical Diseases at Sightsavers

…it is very clear that any future agreement must not neglect the promises already made, both in the MDGs and in the Education For All framework. It must also be rooted in an understanding of human rights – which implies both equity, and the responsibility of states and the international community. Human rights are essentially indivisible, and as an example, we can see this in the way that failure to realize the right to water and sanitation can block access to the right to education.

Getting children into school is only half the struggle; we must also put the same effort into ensuring that they all have a well-trained teacher.

Caroline Pearce is Head of Policy at Global Campaign for Education

The MDGs expire in 2015; the need to ensure equal access to basic health interventions does not. Thankfully, strategists behind the post-2015 agenda agree on the bottom line: we need to focus on what works.

Hope Randall, Communications Associate for defeatDD at PATH

Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) need to have a standalone goal. Too often, WASH is subordinated to health and other areas, when really water and sanitation actually cause other issues, so should be prioritized and made visible. In the MDGs, water and sanitation was under Goal 7 and was overshadowed by environmental issues

Prince Kreplah is the Chairman of the Liberia CSOs WASH Network and Executive Director of Citizens United to Promote Peace & Democracy in Liberia

Regardless of what is chosen, we are sure of one thing—girls and women must be at the center of development in 2015 and beyond. More than 215 million women still have an unmet need for modern contraceptives and 287,000 women around the globe die each year from complications arising in pregnancy and childbirth. Most of these deaths occur in developing countries and are entirely preventable.

Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

The MDGs have also presented a number of challenges. Firstly, because the goals were global, and not regional, some of them were not appropriate for national circumstances, and were therefore not realistic.

I think that by 2015, the MDGs will have been around for long enough – it will be time for them to be put aside and for new ideas and a new framework to be developed. We need to look at new areas – especially around climate change, the environment, and sustainable development.

However, at the moment, I do not honestly feel that my voice is being heard in the global planning process. We are the citizens, and we are not being effectively and efficiently involved!

Gladys Nagawa, UWASNET, Uganda

Because Sierra Leone has not been chosen as a priority country in the UNDP consultations, it is not clear how we can get our voices heard. We really need to make sure that the people on the ground are heard in the consultations.

Musa Ansumana Soko, Youth Partnership for Peace and Development, Sierra Leone

These extracts demonstrate how much civil society has to say and how much we are able to provide valid contributions to the post-2015 discussions. But, when we look at the final two quotes above, we see that End Water Poverty members still do not feel that their voices are being adequately heard in this process. So what can we do? The best advice is to make as much noise as we can and look for as many opportunities as possible to input. We can start with www.worldwewant2015.org, an online platform  that was launched in July and aims to gather the voices of citizens all over the globe. The site is slightly confusing but I tried it out – and if you register here you should be able to start inputting to the consultations here. And do you know if there’s a national consultation in your country? Find a list of the fifty countries included and get in touch with your national focal point here.

It’s crucial that End Water Poverty members, and as many other organisations as possible, feed into global discussions to ensure that sanitation and water are given a higher priority post-2015 to recognize the fact that they underpin all aspects of economic and human development. As our blogs show, progress towards safe water and sanitation for all will also accelerate progress in health, education and economic productivity. That’s why we need to push to get the voices of civil society heard and ensure that sanitation and water are not ignored after 2015.

Take a look at all the blogs from our post-2015 blog week here.

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