United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Norway

Mr. Chairman;
First of all; I?ll take a step back and give some comments to what was on the agenda yesterday, as the lists of speakers was too long yesterday to allow for everyone to have the floor.
The Norwegian delegation would like to give a few comments to the issue of access to sanitation, in particular. We would like to focus on the political constraints, and also on how stakeholders are involved.
First of all, the report of the Secretary-General addresses the need for political champions in the area of sanitation. We are very pleased by the high attendance of African ministers to the AfricaSan 2008, and the declaration delivered from this conference. This is an important declaration stressing the need for multiple interventions from the political leadership like; prioritisation of sanitation and hygiene in national plans, the establishment of one national coordinating body on sanitation and allocating financial resources to sanitation and hygiene. These are important and positive messages. Many political leaders in respective countries have delivered. Others have to follow suit, and deliver on these important issues. Political leadership is too important to be left for declarations only!! What is important to add, is that this political leadership should be taken on by other political leaders, civil society, and ordinary people, through a joint effort!
Secondly; the report of the Secretary-General informs that programs to promote water and sanitation infrastructure in rural areas still suffer from being driven by top-down, technology and target imperatives, rather than bottom-up measures which are inclusive of those who most need it. This is serious, as we know that solutions are most sustainable if based in the population itself. However, we are now seeing important initiatives being taken, these initiatives focusing on behaviour change, and community approaches. The Total Sanitation Campaign in Bangladesh is a good example of a campaign delivering results, let?s hope that similar programmes being undertaken in other countries are equally successful. The new Global Sanitation Fund under the Water Supply and Collaborative Council is a brave new initiative trying to address the issues at a local level. WSSCC should be credited for having a clear focus on sanitation, let?s hope that the work being supported through the means of the fund will bring results. A focus on gender, on the situation for girls, and on women as agents for change in the society, are equally important in this respect.
So; political leadership and bottom-up approaches; let them walk hand in hand!
Then; a few comments more related to the subject of today:
Yesterday evening we had a very interesting presentation and discussion in a side-event on the Status on Integrated Water Resources Management and Water Efficiency Plans. In short, some countries have made progress, and some lag behind, dependant on which parameter you
judge and assess. At the same time, the discussion yesterday revealed that we have to discuss, today, how we now understand the IWRM goal? Have we achieved the goal, do we need to redefine it, how should we understand the goal, seen through the challenges ahead? The goal is not an end in itself, but a means to an end. Do we need a paradigm shift? It would be useful also having the panellists comments to this.
The presentations this morning have shown the serious challenges ahead, in terms of food production, climate change, transboundary waters, but also in terms of building knowledge and human capacity. We still have huge tasks ahead of us.
I?m looking forward to the discussion today, CSD-16 should have an open and frank discussion about this issue!!
Thank you, mr. chairman, ladies and gentlemen!!
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