By Tosin Kolade
Abuja – Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) Nigeria has called for speedy implementation of policies and programmes to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on Water and Sanitation by 2030.
Its National Coordinator, Dr Priscilla Achakpa, made the call in an interview with News Agency o Nigeria (NAN) Abuja on Friday on the sidelines of the Meeting to Validate Report for Nigeria’s Accountability Mechanisms for the SDG Six.
She said that during the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), there was no specific goal on water and sanitation.
She said that with the SDGs now in place, coupled with Nigeria’s commitment to meet the goals, the African continent would soon move up the ladder.
“This is not just because of Nigeria’s population but due to the strategic position which the country occupies in Africa,’’ she said.
Achakpa said that WSSCC strongly believed that Nigeria ought to put in place national mechanisms that could promote accountability and transparency in the implementation of the development goals.
She lauded the Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Suleiman Adamu, for policies and programmes such as the Partnership for Expanded Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH), adding that this had demonstrated the country’s readiness to meet these targets.
She, however, expressed hope that the Ministries of Education, Environment and Health, had also made appreciable progress in efforts to attain the SDGs targets, saying that all things being equal, things should not be as bad as the case with MDGs implementation.
Achakpa called for the strengthening of the political will to meet the SDGs targets, saying that this would enhance coordination, reduce duplicity of efforts and improve the budgeting of resources for water and sanitation projects.
She, nonetheless, urged the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to hold the three tiers of government accountable in their efforts to implement programmes and policies to meet the SDGs.
She conceded that although the government could not do everything in plans to meet the SDGs, it could, however, partner with the CSOs to close the gaps and tackle the lapses that might crop up during the programme implementation process.
She said that the theme of the meeting, “Leaving No One Behind’’, aptly underscored the need to carry everyone along in efforts to promote an inclusive society.
Achakpa also called on the CSOs to create more public awareness, particularly in rural areas, on what the SDGs entailed, saying that all the goals were interlinked to development.
“I strongly believe that when the civil societies put certain mechanisms in place at the state and local government levels, they will be able to checkmate the governments.
“As the government is saying this is what we have done, the civil society organisations should be able to say `we are on the field, what you are presenting is not right’,’’ she said.
The national coordinator said that WSSCC Nigeria was working in line with its global strategy.
She, however, underscored the need for CSOs to coordinate inter-ministerial dialogue to promote policy coordination and strengthening, while acting as watchdogs to government at all levels.
She said that the main objective of the meeting was to conduct an accountability review of SDG Six, with particular emphasis on Goal 6.2 which was on sanitation, adding that there was also the need to revalidate information received from respondents.
Achakpa said that experts at the upcoming 2018 High Level Forum would deliberate on what the SDGs targets which Nigeria had been able to meet since the adoption of the SDGs in 2015.