Report on SDGs for enhanced sustainable decision-making - Alliance for WASH

BY: Ama Amankwah Baafi
Members of the WASH Alliance
Members of the WASH Alliance

The Alliance for WASH Advocacy (A4WA) has recommended an all-inclusive reporting on the country’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

It noted that the SDGs are inter-related, interlinked and inter-dependent, hence the need to measure their impact to help stakeholders to better engage, enhance sustainable decision-making processes and strengthen their accountability.

Specifically, the Coalition is urging a comprehensive reporting on SDG 6, which seeks to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all,” its indicators.

SDG reporting refers to the act of publishing and disseminating data and statistics on the SDG indicators for key stakeholders, including UN custodian agencies, policymakers, businesses, non-governmental organizations, research institutions and the general public.

“If you want to have a comprehensive assessment of the SDGs it will be important to have a complete eye on most of the indicators,” a WASH Consultant, Mr Ibrahim Musah, said during a virtual WASH policy brief meeting.

The A4WA is a coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) and networks in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector. In conducting the assessment on the 2020 SDGs report, the coalition realised that five out of 12 SDG 6 indicators were reported on.

Other indicators

The other seven indicators not reported include; 6.3.1 the proportion of wastewater safely treated ; 6.4.1 change in water use efficiency overtime; 6.2.1b basic hand washing services; and 6.5.2 proportion of transboundary basin areas with an operational arrangement for water cooperation.

The rest are; 6.6.1 change in the extent of water related ecosystems overtime; 6.a.1 amount of water and sanitation related official development assistance that is part of government co-ordinated spending plan; and 6.b.1. proportion of local administrative units with established and operational policies and procedures for participation of local communities in water and sanitation management.

Mr Musah said custodian agencies (organisations responsible for specific targets and indicators) that are assigned to monitor and gather data for progress review and reporting should endeavour to engage with stakeholders.

Read: Poor data ecosystem affecting SDGs reporting - NDPC

He said such engagement should be regular to enable broader stakeholder engagement at the national and sub-national levels to support the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) and relevant ministries with evidence-based data for progress review and reporting.

Reporting process

The Director of Development Policy at NDPC, Dr Felix Addo-Yobo, said the forum was in line with NDPC’s approach to development, which was participatory, inclusive and take inputs from its key development stakeholders of which WASH CSOs are a part, to inform the national development planning process.

Read: We’re scaling up efforts at achieving SDGs— Presidential Advisor

He explained that the non-availability of data was contributory factor to seven of the SDG 6 indicators not reported on and that for every indicator there was a strict measure data which indicates how it should be computed.

“Now the reporting is quite rigorous and it is strict about what constitutes the numerator and what constitutes the denominator and this is to allow for international comparability.

“For many of the seven indicators we struggled to get nationally representative data. It is not because they are not important but it is about having the mechanism in place,” he said.

Dr Addo-Yobo said the NDPC’s interest was not only SDGs but also report on issues such as National Medium-Term Agenda and Agenda 2063, hence there was the need for a robust data system at the district level which will address all the data needs including SDGs.

The Coalition comprises of SVN-Ghana, WaterAid Ghana, Intervention Forum (IF), Catholic Relief Services, World Vision, Plan International Ghana, People’s Dialogue, Water and Sanitation for Urban Poor, Safe Water Network, and SkyFox Limited.

- At the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development are the 17 SDGs which are
an urgent call for action by all countries to end poverty
- Experts say reporting on the SDGs is important since they provide worldwide guidance for addressing the global challenges
- It is about better protecting the natural foundations of life and our planet everywhere and for everyone, and preserving people's opportunities to live in dignity and prosperity across generations