Honourable chair and delegates, WaterAid welcomes the draft WHO global strategy on health, environment and climate change and the draft plan of action on climate change and health in Small Island Developing States. We support the prioritisation of environmental risks and determinants of health at the forefront of the plans, particularly the recognition of water and sanitation as critical to supporting healthy populations and the environment.
We applaud the emphasis on joint leadership by multiple ministries to drive whole of government, multi sector and multi-stakeholder approaches required to meet the challenges presented. Through our work, we know the challenges of driving successful cross-sectoral action; we need political will at the global level to be met with the implementation of cross-sector strategies national level investment.
Current progress, particularly on WASH, is too slow; a step change is needed to deliver action that yields results. We urge member states to take a long-term approach for water and sanitation planning and financing, that considers climate resilient infrastructure and adaptation measures.
People-centred health means prioritising those experiencing effects of climate change. As the world is increasingly water-stressed, we must put the rights of communities at the heart of water resource management and WASH services. This includes communities from large cities and those from small island developing states and must cover communities, schools and healthcare facilities. WaterAid stands ready to support WHO and member states to make universal access to WASH a reality.
This statement was given by Dedo Mate Kodjo, WaterAid Regional Advocacy Manager for West Africa, on 23 May 2019.