High Level General Debate of the United Nations 2023 Water Conference
AT THE GENERAL DEBATE OF THE UN 2023 WATER CONFERENCE
Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,
Ghana aligns itself with the statement delivered by the distinguished representative of Cuba speaking on behalf of the G-77 and China. I wish to make the following additional remarks in my national capacity.
The Sustainable Development Goals, as enshrined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, are intricately linked to access to adequate and clean water, the reliability of the water supply, impacts on shared water resources and innovations to support the co-management of shared water resources in a way that does not diminish the ability of current and future generations to benefit from this fragile resource. Therefore, the theme of this conference “Water for Sustainable Development” is appropriate and timely.
The interlinked nature and the enhanced inter-dependence of the present global order makes it imperative for international cooperation in the management of shared water resources, whether surface or groundwater, to ensure the economic and social development of countries bordering shared basins and to help prevent conflicts.
Cognisant of this reality, and as member of the Volta Basin authority, the key international platform for transboundary water cooperation between Ghana and her immediate neighbours, Ghana on 20th September, 2020, officially became a Party to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, serviced by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (1992 Water Convention); and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses (1997 Watercourses Convention). Between Ghana and Togo we are also actively working on a transboundary water project to supply water to residents of Lome and its environs.
We are pleased to note that other African countries have joined the Convention. This is a promising step and we hope that this Conference will provide an opportunity to mobilise all relevant actors to accelerate actions for the implementation of sustainable development goals in the field of integrated water resource management, particularly in the area of transboundary cooperation, where. We therefore echo the call by the UN Secretary-General for more states to join both Conventions and to strive for their full implementation.
At the national level, Ghana recognises the importance of water and sanitation to the achievement of the SDGs and has placed premium on enhancing the delivery of water and sanitation services in the country. Ghana was the first country to sign the Sanitation and Water for All Compact, which made it possible to prioritize WASH services delivery through deliberate and focused committed programmes, with clearly defined plans for funding. As a result, Ghana was able to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on Water, five clear years before the deadline.
To consolidate the gains made, H.E the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who is also a co-chair for the SDG Advocates Emeritus, set up a specific Ministry for Sanitation and Water Resources when he assumed office in 2017. The main aim of this innovative idea was to prioritise the sector and make the necessary political and financial commitments to ensure the delivery of sustainable water and sanitation services towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Government and Development Partners have, from 2017, invested an amount of US$ 1.397 billion to expand water and sanitation services to benefit about 5,333,709 people. This huge investment has increased the population with access to basic drinking water services from 79% in 2017/2018 to 87.7% in 2021, while the population with access to improved or basic access to household toilet facilities increased from 21% in 2017/2018 to 25.3% in 2021. In addition, the proportion of water bodies with good Ambient Water Quality increased from 51.5 percent in 2017 to 58.2 percent in 2021.
While Ghana has made significant progress in ensuring access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene, more however needs to be done to achieve our vision for this sector. We believe that adopting home grown solutions to deal with water and sanitation problems is key. To this end, we will undertake the following:
Develop the “Ghana Presidential Compact for WASH” which will be anchored at the Presidential Level to bolster government’s leadership and commitment to make universal access to WASH for all Ghanaians a reality.
- Strengthen national and sub-national systems for equitable and inclusive WASH services delivery in Ghana. In this regard, in addition to several improvements, the Ministry will push through two pieces of legislation that will greatly contribute to universal coverage of WASH in Ghana. First is the law establishing a National Sanitation Authority, along with a National Sanitation fund to drive national efforts towards universal access to Sanitation in Ghana. Second is a law converting the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) from a facilitator to a rural water utility to bring in the needed efficiency to ensure the sustainable delivery of water services.
- Enhance Private Sector participation in the delivery of water supply services in Peri – Urban areas based on a demand approach and with supervision by a regulator to ensure tariffs and service delivery are within economic models, through the formulation and adoption of a Water Services Act.
- Continue with the implementation of mechanisms that will ensure the provision of decent sanitation facilities for homes and institutions such as the establishment of a national revolving fund to provide soft loans for households to put up their own toilets, subsidies to cushion household toilet construction and the provision of toilets for vulnerable households. All sanitation facilities provided will be climate resilient and sustainable.
- Develop and implement strategies for better targeting of Low-Income Customers in the urban sub sector and hard to reach rural communities with safe water.
- Increase public and private financing (including consumers/users) for WASH, in partnership with Development Partners, NGOs and the Private Sector, thereby summing the overall investments in WASH sector to at least 1% of GDP.
To achieve the bold vision of adequate and clean water, sanitation and hygiene to our people, the Government of Ghana will require renewed financial and technical support from the international community and development partners. We therefore call for increased support in that regard while stressing that safe water and sanitation are not just guarantors of good health but gateways to a multiplicity of other rights such as good nutrition, food security, livelihoods, human dignity, education, shelter, peace, and stability.
As we all know, the SDG requirements and standards are stringent with emphasis on everyone, everywhere to have access to sustainable WASH services. The Government of Ghana is committed to make this happen with the support of all key stakeholders and development partners.
In conclusion, I wish to reemphasize the importance of promoting international cooperation in the management of shared water resources, particularly in Africa and call for urgent action to promote transboundary cooperation and to achieve SDG 6.
I thank you all for your kind attention.