Government of Ghana says it will work closely with Non-governmental Organisations in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) to help address issues hampering the WASH sector in Ghana.

Speaking at opening ceremony of this year’s 29th edition of MOLE Conference Series which was held at Sogakope in the Volta Region; under the theme: “Reforming Ghana’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Sector Towards Universal Access.” the Deputy Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources (MSWR) Hon. Patrick Yaw Boamah, noted that, the WASH sector in Ghana has witnessed some changes following the onset of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in January, 2016.

This he said, the Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate of the Ministry has increased its technical staff base by 100% to be able to adequately provide the needed technical direction for the Ministry in respect of Environmental Sanitation service delivery in Ghana.

Adding that, plans are also far advanced to re-active the WASH Sector working Group which bring senior staff of the Ministry to sit with DPs and INGOs/CSOs on regular basis for Joint Sector Reviews.

“This brought a renewed hope of revival; impetus and improved WASH sector performance, with the confidence that Sanitation and Hygiene were going to receive the needed political priority and institutional focus,” he noted.

Adding that, the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) has also commissioned some Reforms within the rural and small-town water sub-sector, with the ultimate aim of employing professionalism to consolidate the gains made in the sub-sector.

“MSWR will continue to dialogue with CONIWAS and its members, to reflect your contributions into the ongoing reforms, to ensure we get your support and by extension, the communities so we can work towards universal access to sustainable WASH services by 2030 or earlier, based on the projections of our Water Sector Strategic Development Plan (2012-2025),” he stated.

He also stressed the need to focus attention on the bad practice of farming close to the banks of the water bodies, which has become rampant in recent times.

“By this practice, poisonous pesticides eventually find their way into our water bodies, causing public health hazards and risk to the people,” he lamented.

He therefore entreated CONIWAS to embark on membership drive in order to bring all the other CSOs who are not yet members of the Coalition to ensure a formidable force to engage effectively with other stakeholders in pursuing the Nation’s WASH sector agenda.

The Deputy Minister however, commended CONIWAS for their tremendous works towards the WASH sector. This he said, his outfit will work closely with them in order to achieve the desired results.

The Executive Chairman of the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), Martin Dery, in his remark stated that calls from the Mole conference series have played a tremendous role in various institutional reforms in Ghana’s WASH sector.

This he said, calls from the conference are also believed to have influenced the increased profile of WASH especially during the early 2000s, when a dedicated Directorate was created within the then Ministry of Works and Housing and currently an entire Ministry established to focus on sanitation and water resources.

“As a civil society coalition, we are united in our conviction that in order to reach everyone with availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation by 2030, implementation of major reforms may be include institutional re-alignment of directorates and agencies for accelerated service delivery, localizing SDG towards sustainable financing at levels and promoting integrity, social accountability and performance monitoring in the sector,” he explained.

More specifically, deliberations at the conference will focus on the following:
• Advocate for and support efforts at institutional re-alignment of directorates, departments and agencies under the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources and related Ministries;
• Update stakeholders on various WASH policies, strategies, plans and programs;
• Discuss the mechanisms and strategies for localizing the SDGs and ensuring greater ownership at the sub national level, and
• Create a platform to highlight the impacts of integrity, social accountability and
monitoring on sector performance.
The conference will retain its usual focus on knowledge sharing and advocacy and will devote about 60% of the period to sharing lessons on trends. Discussions during the conference will centre on:

• Institutional Re-alignment for Accelerated Service Delivery
• Effective Sector Policies and Strategies
• Localizing the SDG 6 for Sustainable Financing at all Levels
• Integrity, Social Accountability and Performance Monitoring

Source: Isaac Kofi Dzokpo/newsghana.com.gh

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