Saturday, 24 January 2015

Zambia 2014 High Level Commitment to address WASH challenges in the country.

1. Key sector indicators

Water: Zambia through the Ministry of Local Government and Housing (MLGH) developed two national programs to guide the implementation of water and sanitation projects, resulting in improved sector support activities. The two programs are the National Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Program (2011 – 2030) and the National Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Program (2006 – 2015). According to the JMP, the national coverage on water stands at 64%, hence more resources still need to be invested in the water sector.

Sanitation and hygiene: However, limited progress has been made in sanitation resulting in Zambia remaining off-track to achieve the MDG target on sanitation. The JMP reports that the national rate for improved sanitation is 42%, while that of rural areas is 33 percent. According to the National Water Supply and Sanitation Council (NWASCO) sanitation coverage for urban areas stands at 57 percent. Zambia recognizes this challenge and is accelerating efforts to increase sanitation coverage by implementing a sanitation roll out program targeting 3 million people in rural areas by 2015. Simultaneously, the extension of sanitation services to urban and peri-urban areas will be implemented targeting 500,000 people to gain access to adequate sanitation by 2016.

Disparities: Some disparities exist in provision of water. The JMP indicates that only 50% of Zambians in the rural areas have access to an improved water source while the figure for the urban areas stands at 80 percent. There are also inadequacies in the provision of sanitation, especially for households in peri-urban and low-income areas leading to outbreaks of diseases.

Impact on health, economy, poverty and other sectors: Poor water and sanitation provision negatively affects Zambia’s economy. It was estimated by the World Bank (WSP, 2012), that as at the year 2010, Zambia was losing 1.3% of its GDP, or US$194 Million) annually due to bad sanitation.

1. Long term vision and focus for 2016: Zambia is committed to achieving universal access to water and sanitation in order to improve the quality of life and enhance economic growth. The country aims to achieve by 2015, 75% access to reliable safe water and 60% access to adequate sanitation (Sixth National Development Plan - SNDP). The long term vision is the achievement of 90% access to adequate sanitation and 100% access to safe water supply by 2030 (Vision 2030).

Focus between 2014 and 2016: Between 2014 and 2016, Zambia will focus on increasing investments in the sector. A financing mechanism will be developed to provide clear targets on WASH and improve sustainability. The implementation of an effective management of information system will improve planning, resource allocation and monitoring. Implementation of activities will be aligned to the decentralization policy. The country’s focus will also be on rolling out sanitation coverage in peri-urban and rural areas.This will contribute to the elimination of inequalities and achievement of open defecation free status by 2020.

Fit with national priorities: Devolution of resources and authority to Local Authorities is in line with the Decentralization Policy and results in improved service delivery. Increasing coverage in rural and peri – urban areas is in line with the Vision 2030 andSNDP which aim at reducing inequalities.

2. Key bottlenecks: The 2012 WASH Bottleneck Analysis Synthesis report for Zambia indicates that lack of an effective management of information systems and inadequate financing are key bottlenecks. Additionally the report cited poor profiling of sanitation, fragmented plans, low hygiene communication and lack of sanitation solutions for challenging areas as key bottlenecks in implementing the sanitation roll out program. 

3. Summary of progress on 2012 HLM Commitments

Commitments on increasing financing to water and sanitation: Slow progress on commitments to increase financing to WASH. This commitment will be taken to 2014, with a focus on developing a financing strategy that guarantees increased national budget allocation and growth in the sector.

Commitments on development of an effective information management system: Good progress on commitment. Although progress in 2012 was slow, Government and partners are working together to develop an effective national information management system. The objective is to overcome capacity and technical issues which led to the old system being ineffective and unusable. The system is expected to improve planning and monitoring and evaluation. 

Commitments on Capacity: Good progress in human resource allocation to Local Authorities. Implementation of decentralization policy needs to be scaled up, focusing on devolution of activities, strengthening the Local Authorities’ resource mobilization and improving staff allocation. A capacity development strategy will be developed to guide the sector, followed by implementation of planned interventions.

Commitments on sanitation and eliminating of open defecation: Progress slow but gaining momentum. The focus will be to develop a strategy to sustain interventions and increase coverage inperi–urban and rural areas.

4. 2014 SMART Commitments

Financing: The Ministry of Local Government and Housing and the Ministry of Finance to jointly develop by 2016, a financing strategy, with specific investment targets for water and sanitation.

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