KAMPALA – Persistent funding gaps by the Government of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) sector are slowing down the efforts to achieve the much-desired Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 requiring water and sanitation for all by 2030, sector players have said.
Yunia Musaazi, the Executive Director, Uganda Water and Sanitation NGO Network who was speaking at a three-day annual water and sanitation civil society forum at Hotel African, said the sector gets less than UGX 1.5 trillion out of the required UGX.7 trillion annually.
“The required annual investment within the water, sanitation, and environment programs is an average of around UGX7 trillion, but as a sector, we get around UGX1.5 trillion,” she said, adding that there already were worrying signs that the country is lagging behind its regional peers.
She said that accelerating enhanced funding of the sector’s unfunded priorities, was an urgent prerequisite.
“So what we’re here today is to deliberate, first of all, to ensure that there is enough coordination and collaboration amongst the stakeholders and the CSOs themselves so that we can know who is implementing whatever small it is, whether it’s government or CSOs. What are we doing are the development partners and who are those who are left behind?” she said of the three-day annual water and sanitation civil society forum.
Musaazi also noted that there is a need to involve the communities to finance access to clean water and sanitation. According to Yunia out of every 10 households only 7 have access to clean water and more than 15 million Ugandans still practice open defecation.
Dr. Callist Tindimugaya the commissioner Ministry of Water and Environment said that water-use efficiency and ensuring freshwater supplies is still a challenge in the country.
He said that only 17 percent of Ugandans have access to safe and clean water in their homes, while the majority have to walk distances to access clean water. He also noted that 51 percent of the water bodies in Uganda have good water quality and 4 percent of wastewater is treated and a lot of it is being discharged without being treated.
Tindimugaya said that the country has revised the national water policy to strengthen the partnerships. He said that there is a need for the government to work with all stakeholders such as CSOs, religious, and cultural institutions.
According to Tindimugya, the ministry needs 7.6 trillion Shillings every year to achieve the targets. He added that the 1.5 trillion Shillings they receive is inadequate.
Alfred Okot Okidi, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Water and Environment urged members of UWASNET to always report to the government what they are doing as part of good governance. He said that currently, only 50 percent of the members have reported to the government which affects national and global reporting and acquisition of data.
In 2022, findings from WHO and UN-Water’s Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking Water (GLAAS) report showed that acceleration is needed in many countries to achieve (SDG) 6.
According to the report, while 45 percent of countries are on track to achieve their nationally defined drinking-water coverage targets, only 25% of countries are on track to achieve their national sanitation targets.