Following a consultation process coordinated by the ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, involving in particular Coalition Eau, France recently adopted an international water and sanitation strategy for the period 2020 to 2030.
This strategy is aimed at two main objectives: universal, equitable access to water, sanitation and hygiene and integrated water resources management at watershed level.
To achieve these, France adopted three strategic areas of action to:
- Improve governance in the water and sanitation sector, from local level to world level.
- Strengthen water supply security for all, in a context where pressure on the resource is growing and water-related crises are increasing.
- Strengthen the effectiveness of means and tools, prioritising the development of innovative solutions and solidarity-based funding mechanisms.
The first two areas of action make it possible to define guidelines for French action with regard major current issues, in particular access to water and sanitation, water resources management and preservation of aquatic ecosystems. However, these guidelines are not laid out according to concrete objectives.
The third area of action includes key issues put forward in Coalition Eau advocacy, such as the importance of increasing funding to the least developed countries and the portion of official development assistance (ODA) that transits through NGOs. However, no quantified targets are detailed. With regard sanitation, France intends to ensure it accounts for 50% of ODA to the water and sanitation sector by 2030.
The strategy also includes an accountability framework, with a series of indicators. Although partial, this framework will make it possible to strengthen the transparency of France’s external action.
While the adoption of this strategy responds to one of Coalition Eau’s longstanding demands, the challenge now is to implement it. To do this, it is necessary to make it known to the departments in charge of its application, to ensure strong political backing and to devote appropriate resources to it.