Thursday, January 19, 2012

Water for the World Advances Effectiveness of Aid for the World's Poorest

On December 14, the US House of Representatives took an important step in protecting US leadership on global health and international development, by introducing the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2012.

Led by Congressmen Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Ted Poe (R-TX), a bipartisan group of ten Representatives have today shown their support for ensuring that US investments in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are effective and efficient, leveraging their multiple benefits across sectors to reduce poverty and save lives. 

The House version of the Water for the World Act is a companion to a Senate version of the bill (S. 641) (PDF 177.54KB), which was introduced in March of this year, under the leadership of Senators Durbin (D-IL) and Corker (R-TN), and is a follow-on to a bill that passed the Senate last year with unanimous consent. 

“The Water for the World Act is a critical opportunity for the US Government to take decisive steps towards further alleviating the suffering of those worst affected by the global water and sanitation crisis, and at the same time contribute to broader foreign policy objectives, such as child survival and poverty reduction." said Lisa Schechtman, WaterAid in America's Head of Policy & Advocacy.

"In addition, the legislation advances key principles of aid effectiveness, ensuring that coordination and monitoring and evaluation are improved so we can be sure we are making the most of the dollars invested. The bipartisan support for the Water for the World Act only reinforces the value of WASH programs in and of themselves and as a tool for amplifying US leadership around the world,” she continued. 

The bill would strengthen the implementation of the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005 by:

  • Improving the coordination of US government agencies working on WASH and enhancing the sustainability of WASH programs, including by building US government technical capacity, improving the targeting of resources to the countries and communities most in need of WASH assistance, and prioritizing local ownership of programs.
  • Establishing a Global Water Coordinator at USAID and a Special Advisor for Water Resources within the Department in State to oversee the effective implementation of country-specific water strategies, improve coordination, and maintain political commitment to WASH. 
  • Increasing integration of WASH programs with other critical interventions, such as child survival, global health, food security and nutrition, and gender equality to increase the efficiency and impact of all, including through the development of a comprehensive WASH strategy. 
  • Monitoring and evaluating projects implemented by the US government in order to promote sustainable and long-term development while reaching US foreign assistance objectives, and increasing transparency in reporting.
In introducing this bill, Congress has taken an essential step in improving existing US international development programs seeking to address the water and sanitation crisis, as well as reaching the sanitation Millennium Development Goal target to halve the proportion of people with access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015.
This article was taken from WaterAid. Please visit their site and consider donating to their valuable work.

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