Wednesday, April 25, 2012

US Government Joins Global Partnership Aimed at Universal Coverage of Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation

Please circulate widely to others in the media! Thank you.

US Government Joins Global Partnership Aimed at Universal Coverage of Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation

April 25, 2012
John Oldfield
WASH Advocates
joldfield (at) WASHadvocates (dot) org

Washington DC - “Forty years ago today, Apollo 16 landed on the moon . . . by anyone's standards it was a triumph of science, technology and political will. I remember so many of us thinking that if humankind can do this, what could humankind NOT accomplish?” UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake continued at last Friday’s Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting: “ . . . and yet today, over 1.1 billion people still practice open defecation because they don't have access to the most basic sanitation facilities . . . If two generations ago we could land men on the moon, we can and must also afford people here on earth two of their most basic human rights - safe water and basic sanitation - because until we do, development progress will falter."

On Friday, April 20, 2012, in Washington DC, the United States formally joined the Sanitation and Water for All Partnership (SWA) during its biennial High Level Meeting. WASH Advocates applauds this important step toward 100 percent coverage of safe drinking water and sanitation throughout the developing world.

"The United States Government considers sanitation and water and our related partnering activities to be a critical component of our overall international development assistance effort," US Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Raj Shah said in making the announcement. "We look forward to maximizing the potential of this partnership, which brings together such a range of tools, experience, and approaches. Working together, we can not only reach full coverage, but we can also do it in the most effective, efficient, and collaborative way."

This announcement comes on the heels of World Water Day, March 22, 2012, when US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched the US Water Partnership to “help answer [the] call for leadership and to expand the impact of America’s work on water.” The US Water Partnership “brings together a diverse range of partners from the private sector, the philanthropic community, the NGOs, academics, experts, and government. This approach will help catalyze new opportunities for cooperation.”

“Sustainable development is about much more than water and sanitation, but never about less. By joining the Sanitation and Water for All Partnership, USAID sends two strong signals: the US will enhance its leadership in the global safe drinking water and sanitation sector, and US assistance toward such efforts around the world will be more catalytic, sustainable, and closely aligned with the priorities of both developing countries and other donor countries,” says John Oldfield, CEO of WASH Advocates.

Most importantly, the Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting on April 20 featured developing country governments making stronger commitments to solve the safe drinking water challenge in their own countries, including Kenya, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and Benin.

Notable participants at the April 20 Sanitation and Water for All meeting included former President of Ghana John Kufuor, USAID Administrator Raj Shah, Executive Director of UNICEF Anthony Lake, and His Royal Highness Willem-Alexander, The Prince of Orange.


About WASH Advocates
WASH Advocates is a nonprofit advocacy effort in Washington DC entirely dedicated to helping solve the global safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) challenge. Our mission is to increase awareness of the global WASH challenge and solutions, and to increase the amount and effectiveness of resources devoted to solving the problem around the developing world. Please visit our website at

About SWA
Sanitation and Water for All is a global partnership aimed at achieving universal and sustainable access to sanitation and drinking-water for all, by firmly placing sanitation and water on the global agenda with an immediate focus on achieving the Millennium Development Goals in the most off-track countries. More information is available at

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