European Union (EU) committed to the improvement and management of the water sector in Ghana – supports SWAP process (15/03/2010)
The second Action Oriented Sector-Wide Approach (SWAP) workshop on the theme “Deepening the Understanding of the Roles and Responsibilities of the Ghana Water Sector SWAP” took off in Accra from March 22 to 24, 2010.
The objective is to develop the capacity of stakeholders to participate in SWAP processes. The SWAP is expected to culminate into the development of strategic sector development plan which will serve as a useful framework and guide in the provision of integrated water and sanitation services.
The workshop is a follow-up to the SWAP Introductory workshop held in February 2010 and was organized by the Water Directorate, under the auspices of the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing, and is financed by the European Union.
The Head of Co-operation of the Delegation of the European Union to Ghana, Mr. Kurt Cornelis, said a fundamental building block for a SWAP is a sector policy and Development Partners (DPs) commend Ghana for adopting an ambitious National Water Policy in 2007. “Having a policy is a good starting point but this must be complemented by a realistic and prioritized Strategic Sector Development Plan. This plan should highlight the cost priority areas for investment and set realistic annual goals which in turn will be based on and measured by tangible results.”
Mr. Cornelis said currently, only 3% of the Government’s budget is allocated to the Water and Sanitation sector. With DPs modalities of investing in this sector rapidly changing there is an urgent need to address the functioning of the sector. “It is our hope that this need is seen at the highest political levels and that there will be full local ownership and strong commitment on behalf of the Government”.
He noted that a first step to indicate government’s commitment would be to ensure, within the shortest time possible, that the Water Directorate is adequately financed and staffed. Furthermore, Mr. Cornelis noted that the EU he stated, fully endorses the SWAP process and hopes that fellow Heads of Cooperation will come together with high level government representatives to finalise the draft of the code of conduct for the sector.
The lead Water and Sanitation specialist of the World Bank, Mr. Ventura Bengoecmea, in a statement stressed that there were two key requirements for SWAP, leadership and sector investment plan.
He called on government to address rural water and sanitation which he said lacked strategic approach adding, addressing the needs of sustainability of water and sanitation facilities in rural areas is important.
The Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Mr. Alban S. K. Bagbin, opening the workshop, said recognizing the role of water and sanitation as a catalyst for socio economic development, government policy will ensure that water as a resource is managed and utilized sustainably, that water of acceptable quality and sufficient quantities is available to satisfy the basic requirements of every Ghanaian, that sufficient sanitation services are provided.
Mr Bagbin reiterated the commitment of the Ministry and the Government to work in close collaboration with DPs and to provide leadership on the processes involved in the implementation of the SWAP adding that despite the various reforms introduced, the water and sanitation sector will continue to face a number of challenges that need to be addressed.
As a top priority, the Minister said government’s development strategy for the achievement of the Better Ghana Agenda, will be for the Ministry to continue to introduce various reforms and initiatives aimed at improving the performance of the water and sanitation sectors for the achievement of national and Millennium Development Goals (MDG) targets. These reforms and initiatives are even more necessary if government is to achieve its target of 85% coverage for water by 2015.
Mr. Bagbin said the Ministry would come out with a comprehensive strategy for dealing with the problems of the water sector within 100 days.
The Water Directorate of the Ministry also proposed the establishment of a Water Fund to provide a reliable source of funding for water infrastructural projects in the country. The Fund proposed by the National Water Policy, according to Mr. Mintah A. Aboagye, Director of the Water Directorate, would be financed by the government and the country’s development partners.
EU Delegation to Ghana:
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