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Sector Information and Monitoring Systems (SIMS) in Africa – Practitioners Reconvene at Stockholm Water Week Side Event

Sector Information and Monitoring Systems (SIMS) for water and sanitation supply is a unique framework that brings monitoring in line with the emerging sector context of national water programs and Sector-Wide Approaches (SWAPs) in Africa. Effective SIMS helps to track progress and is a critical element of a country’s efforts to expand and improve water and sanitation services and to enhance the efficacy, efficiency and equity of sector investments.

Africa requires a big push to get countries on track towards meeting their national and global targets on water supply and sanitation. Currently, over 335 million people in Africa lack water supply and almost 770 million are without sanitation. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are aimed at halving the backlog in water supply and sanitation (WSS) services by 2015. However, the US$7 billion needed to achieve this target for sub-Saharan Africa alone is ambitious, and to achieve it cost effectively even more so.  

This demands that attention be paid to countries’ capacities to track and monitor performance of the sector – to show how effectively and efficiently resources are utilized, and to demonstrate that expanded coverage and improved access to water and sanitation can be achieved from increased sector investments. Many African countries are turning to SWAps in keeping with the shift from fragmented project-based funding to programmatic budget-based aid, and as a means of better managing increasing resource flows to the sector.  

WSS Sector Information and Monitoring Systems (SIMS) Side Event  

WSP-Africa and the African Water Facility (AWF) organized a side event at the World Water Week in Stockholm to discuss WSS information and monitoring systems and to deliberate on the principles and requirements for the effective development and implementation of country SIMS. The session, which was held on 14th August, 2007, was attended by 70 delegates from African governments, development partners, research institutions, the private sector and non-governmental organizations.

The side event followed the SIMS Practitioner’s Workshop held in March 2007, where the development of SIMS guidelines and continued country support were identified as critical conditions for progress. The networking and learning workshop brought together over 90 delegates from Africa and around the world who identified and discussed the principles of an effective SIMS approach, based on emerging regional experiences  >>> Read Summary Report of SIMS Practitioners’ Workshop

The Water Week side event featured discussions on the importance of developing coherent national and regional planning and monitoring strategies to guide country actors in improving water and sanitation services. The event also featured presentations on the emerging SIMS framework as conceptualized by WSP-Africa and AWF and showcased lessons and best practice from Uganda and Senegal, where comprehensive water sector information systems are being developed.

The SIMS concept was very well received by participants. Key concerns raised among the participants were:  

  • Ensuring that SIMS enhances information sharing despite discrepancies and encourages participatory monitoring processes

  • SIMS needs to address “software” components such as governance and the reform agenda and functionality/ use of services

  • Harmonizing SIMS with national integrated information systems as in Senegal and Uganda where they exist

  • Ensuring that SIMS feeds into Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) and Medium-Term Expenditure Frameworks (MTEF) and that the sector takes advantage of the increased use of Public Expenditures Reviews (PERs)

  • Adapting SIMS to decentralization

  • Continuing South-South learning and sharing of SIMS lessons, approaches and tools

  • Building partnerships to ensure broad ownership and capacity to support clients

Following AWF’s expression of interest in exploring financing SIMS at the country level, WSP committed to supporting a number of countries that were keen to take up this opportunity to put together funding proposals.  

Session Agenda and Presentation Links  

Facilitator: Piers Cross, WSP

Introduction: Yvan Kedaj, AWF

Senegal SIMS Case: Fadel Ndaw, PEPAM

Uganda SIMS Case: Ssozi Disan, DWD

SIMS Emerging Conceptual Framework: Thomas Fugelsnes, WSP 

List of Participants 

The Co-hosts

The Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) is an international partnership to help the poor gain sustained access to improved water supply and sanitation services. The African Water Facility (AWF)is an initiative led by the African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW) to mobilize resources to finance water resources development activities in Africa. It is hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Contact Name: 
Thomas Fugelsnes
Contact Email: 
wsp@worldbank.org