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15.11.2004 General News

Two-day Donors' Conference on water opens

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Accra, Nov. 15, GNA - Ghana needs to deepen its decentralization process and strengthen the capacity of district level stakeholders and increase mobilization of local and external resources if the country is to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for water and sanitation.

Other challenges related to decentralization include the creation of new districts and the need for greater fiscal decentralization, Mr Archie Book, Director, Development Cooperation at the Canadian High Commission, said on Monday at a two-day annual joint Donors' Conference in Accra.

The conference under the theme: "Harmonising Approaches in Water and Sanitation Delivery," seeks to take stock of progress and challenges and validate the recommendations and outcomes of the 2002 Donors' Conference.

Mr Book said the demand on key sector agencies had increased over the years and would continue to grow as Ghana scaled up its efforts to meet MDGs and urged the Government to increase efforts in financing both sector investment and recurrent costs of major actors such as Community Water and Sanitation Agency.

He stressed the need for the country to develop a more programme-based approach to interventions such as a Sector Wide Approach to increase the efficiency of programming in the water and sanitation sector.

Dr Charles Yaw Brempong-Yeboah, Deputy Minister of Works and Housing, reiterated Government's commitment to pursue the policy of Public Private Partnership in water delivery in the country. He said at the level of urban water supply, the Government had indicated its intention to follow through the process of private sector participation in the water supply delivery programme. "Since 2001, we have spared no effort in ensuring that water supply delivery to all our people, especially our rural folks is accelerated.

"We have in addition to resources received from our development partners, injected money from HIPC (Highly Indebted Poor Countries) resources for the delivery of boreholes fitted with hand pumps across the length and breath of the country."

Dr Brempong-Yeboah said the Ministry would work to ensure increased funding for the water and sanitation sector to attain the MDG. Mr Minta Aboagye, Director of Water at the Ministry, said a lot of progress had been made since the 2002 Donors' Conference while a number of challenges still remained and this year's conference would consider the necessary steps required to fill the gaps in moving towards sector-wide approaches to planning and sector initiatives.

It would also highlight key interventions and deliberate on sustainable operation and monitoring of Small Towns' Water and Sanitation issues including crosscutting issues such as Hygiene and Sanitation Promotion.

In a speech read for Sheikh I.C. Quaye, Greater Accra Regional Minister, he said with the support of the development partners the Government had inaugurated a number of water supply systems including those for Oyibi and Abokobi.

He said pipelines in Adenta were being laid and would water supply to the area would be regular.

Similar projects are taking place across the country in all the 10 Regions.

Countries participating include, Canada, The Netherlands, Germany and United Kingdom. 15 Nov. 04

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