April 20, 2012 – WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah announced that the U.S. Agency for International Development has joined the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) Partnership. The SWA Partnership brings together governments, donors, civil society organizations, and development partners to achieve sustainable sanitation and drinking water.
USAID and the U.S. Department of State are committing a total of $1 million to the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program. The investment will support the SWA-led National Planning for Results Initiative, which promotes national planning efforts related to sanitation and water. The economic gains from investing in sanitation and water are estimated at $170 billion per year.
“The United States Government considers sanitation and water and our related partnering activities to be a critical component of our overall international development assistance effort,” Administrator Shah said during remarks at the SWA High Level Meeting. “We look forward to maximizing the potential of this partnership, which brings together such a range of tools, experience, and approaches. Working together, we can not only reach full coverage, but we can also do it in the most effective, efficient, and collaborative way.”
Established in 2010, SWA’s biennial High Level Meeting brings together Ministers of Finance from developing countries, Ministers of Development Cooperation from donor countries, and high-level representatives from development banks and other donor institutions.
Last month, the United Nations announced that the Millennium Development Goal for a 50 percent reduction in the number of people living without access to safe drinking water had been achieved in 2010 – five years ahead of schedule. Even with that target met, more than 780 million people, particularly those in fragile states and poor communities, still live without access to safe water.
Progress in sanitation has been slower. Today, 2.5 billion people still lack access to improved sanitation and it is unlikely that the Millennium Development Goal target for sanitation will be met by 2015.