UNICEF calls on states to support sustainable WASH systems

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Dr Jane Bevan, UNICEF Chief of WASH on Wednesday emphasised the crucial role of state governments in promoting programmes to enhance access to clean water and sanitation services for the populace.

This appeal was made during the launch of the WASH Sector-wide Sustainability Checks Action Plan and Sustainability Compact in Abuja.

The initiative is aimed at enhancing the sustainability of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene infrastructure across the nation.

Bevan said this entailed establishing water departments, training skilled maintenance personnel, and providing technical assistance at the grassroots level.

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She highlighted the ambiguity surrounding the responsibility for bearing the costs of operating and maintaining water systems in the country.

According to her, given the government’s limitations in funding all systems, communities must devise methods to collect funds for repairs and maintenance.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation, in collaboration with UNICEF and other stakeholders, introduced the WASH Sector-wide Sustainability Checks Action Plan and Sustainability Compact.

Dr Bello Goronyo, Minister of State, underscored the pivotal role of the WASH sector in promoting human well-being and sustainable development.

He emphasised the need to move beyond mere access to WASH services towards ensuring their long-term sustainability.

“The Sustainability Compact represents a commitment to future generations, requiring collective efforts from government, non-governmental organisations, the private sector, and communities.

“The introduction of the Sustainability Checks Action Plan aims to systematically monitor and track sustainability factors in WASH services.

“The initiative is supported by the government of Nigeria, UNICEF, and other partners in the WASH sector”.

The Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Aliyu Shinkafi, emphasised the importance of water and sanitation as fundamental human rights and drivers of development.

Represented by Mr Olabode Fashoyi, Deputy Director Water Supply, Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation, he highlighted the transformative potential of the WASH Sector-wide Sustainability Checks Action Plan.

He stated that the framework evaluates the functionality and sustainability of WASH facilities, ensuring interventions are not temporary fixes but enduring solutions with lasting impact.

He said that every drop of water saved, every hand washed, and every toilet built brings the country closer to a healthier, equitable, and sustainable world.

He underscored that the WASH Sector-Wide Sustainability Checks Action Plan and Compact represent a commitment to leave no one behind, not just documents but a promise to ensure equitable access to essential services.

The event convened stakeholders from government ministries, development partners, technical experts, state representatives and the FCT.

NAN quotes the UNICEF as saying that there are concerns over the loss of 25 per cent of annual investments in Nigeria’s water and sanitation sector.

This setback is attributed to inadequate operation and maintenance, coupled with infrastructure dysfunction. (NAN)

By Tosin Kolade

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