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AfricaSan Elevates Sanitation and Hygiene Goals for Africa

The Second African Conference on Sanitation and Hygiene - AfricaSan+5 - was held in Durban, South Africa from February 18–21, 2008, with firm resolutions to place sanitation and hygiene at the top of the development agenda in Africa.
The Second African Conference on Sanitation and Hygiene - AfricaSan+5 - was held in Durban, South Africa from February 18–21, 2008, with firm resolutions to place sanitation and hygiene at the top of the development agenda in Africa.

The high-level conference brought more than 600 delegates: including 32 African government ministers responsible for sanitation-related portfolios; managerial-level sector professionals from the public and private sectors; sanitation sector practitioners in civil society; multilateral donor/development agencies; research/training institutions and the media.

AfricaSan+5 follows on after the First AfricaSan Conference held in 2002 that helped to formulate a Millennium Development Goal (MDG) specifically for sanitation: to reduce, by half, the number of people without access to basic sanitation and hygiene by 2015.

The Second AfricaSan Conference was the climax of a continent-wide process to assess progress, challenges, and lessons towards achieving the sanitation Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the population of those who do not have access to basic sanitation.

During the three-day event, the delegates agreed on an Action Plan that articulates the critical actions to be further developed, funded and monitored by 2010 in order to put Africa "back on track" to meet the sanitation MDGs. The African Ministers’ Conference on Water (AMCOW) was mandated to monitor progress against the national plans and report on progress during the next AfricaSan meeting in 2010.

The AfricaSan+5 Conference also marked the formal launch of the International Year of Sanitation in Africa. The year 2008 is set by the UN General Assembly as the International Year of Sanitation to help accelerate progress on sanitation by putting the spotlight on this silent crisis.

At the conclusion, the Ministers signed the eThekwini Declaration in which, among other undertakings, they pledged to create separate budget lines for sanitation and hygiene in their countries and to commit at least 0.5 percent of GDP. The eThekwini Declaration will be presented to the African Union at its 2008 Heads of State and Government Summit to be held in Egypt in July 2008. The AU heads of state are expected to declare their support to implementation of the AfricaSan Action Plan.

AfricanSan Conference was organized under the auspices of AMCOW, and its partners: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF), World Bank, United Nation’s Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Water (UNSGAB), the Water and Sanitation Program, Africa (WSP-Africa), the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) and World Health Organization (WHO); and hosts: South Africa’s Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) and eThekwini Municipality (City of Durban).