Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Water and Sanitation, Elias Chimlambe, has expressed Malawi Government’s commitment to attaining Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6), which advocates for countries to have potable and clean water by 2030.
Chimlambe made the commitment in the week during a two-day taskforce workshop on coordination, advocacy and investment and climate financing in Lilongwe.
He highlighted the assessment done by the National Planning Commission (NPC), which shows that Malawi is on track to meet the 2030 target related on water and sanitation with 87.9 percent of population having access to improved sources of drinking water.
However, Chimlambe lamented that despite strides in improving availability of safe water, 27 percent of the population walk for over an hour to access safe water in the country while 80 percent of the population in Malawi uses improved sanitation facilities.
“I am delighted that stakeholders in the water and sanitation sector in the country under the leadership of the ministry of Water and Sanitation and with support from various players including the Global Water Partnership and UNICEF are taking important steps to ensure no one is left behind. We are here today because of an inclusive consultative process that was undertaken across the country’s regions to identify barriers that we need to work on to ensure universal access to water and sanitation,” said the PS.
Chimlambe said the ministry appreciates efforts of all players in the sector saying it will help the country to meet goal 6 by 2030 and the ministry will also continue to provide the much needed leadership to transform the sector and ensure that all have access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation across the country.
He further said that the workshop will help stakeholders to find solutions to address the three barriers of infrastructure investment and financing, political will and water leadership and coordination, policy and regulations saying it will help the country to reduce diseases caused by sanitation related factors as seven percent of under five deaths in the country are caused by diarrhoea alone.
“The SDG progress reports warns that tropical cyclones Ana and Gombe earlier this year have potential to reverse the gains made on some SDGs including Goal 6 on water and sanitation, it has already been established that water-related climate shock impacts heavily on the WASH sector for instance, the World Bank estimates that cyclone Idai in 2019 destroyed WASH infrastructure worth US$3.8 million,” he said.
In her remarks, Coordinator of the African Water Investment Programme under the Global Water Partnership in Malawi, Deborah Muheka, stated that the organization is working with government to make sure that government is able to achieve this important SDG 6 by 2030 saying they will continue providing technical support on water and sanitation sector in the country.
In the 2022 State of the World’s Drinking Water by WHO, UNICEF and World Bank, the reports advises governments around the world to progressively strengthen existing institutions, fill institutional gaps and facilitate coordination and they should establish a stable regulatory environment supported by legislation and clear policies including standards for services quality and ensure enforcement.
The report further recommends that “governments should build robust and competent instructions and capable and motivated workforce through a range of capacity-development approaches based on innovation, partnership and collaboration”.
A few days ago, a video clip of women and children in Mangochi dancing around newly drilled well attracted the attention of many.
In the clip, water is gashing out of the well and the women and children sing and dance, which shows that as a country that is the way to go and achieving access to safe water to all.