On December 11, 2013 U.S. Water Partnership members, Conservation International, Millennium Water Alliance, The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) joined the Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG) at the World Wildlife Fund offices for the launch of the Freshwater Conservation and water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Integration Guidelines: A Framework for Implementation in sub-Saharan Africa.
Healthy freshwater ecosystems provide the basis for water supply, flood control, food and numerous other services on which millions depend for their livelihood. However, international development organizations and funding agencies have traditionally treated freshwater ecosystems and watershed management needs as distinct and separate agendas on the ground related directly to access to water and sanitation. The collaborative group recognizes that water, poverty and environment are interconnected and the long-term sustainability of WASH services depends on the conservation and protection of the entire basin. Chris Kosnick, Director of Office of Water, USAID emphasized that the guidelines support the two main strategic objectives, Water for Health and Water for Food, of the Water and Development Strategy and highlighted a specific focus on building partnerships to address the areas of need and leverage resources and technical experiences.
The report aims to provide guidance to health, development, and conservation professionals in sub-Saharan Africa on how to plan, coordinate develop and achieve mutually supported WASH and freshwater conservation projects outcomes. Colleen Sorto, Senior Manager, Peace and Development Partnerships, Conservation International outlined the guidelines structure and highlighted the guidelines are the seed for integrating WASH and conservation. Sarah Davidson encouraged participants to distribute the guidelines with partners and share success stories of pilot projects form the field.