WaterAid advises Lords on EU aid

WaterAid advises UK Parliament to push the EU for more sustainable and equitable water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) aid.

19 Jul 2013

Mariame Dem, Head of WaterAid West Africa and Daniel Yeo, WaterAid Senior Policy Analyst, have given evidence to the House of Lords EU Sub-Committee on External Affairs as part of its scrutiny of EU-funded water and sanitation projects in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Lords Committee is scrutinising a recent audit of EU water and sanitation aid to Sub-Saharan Africa. The audit highlighted weaknesses in the financial sustainability of the EU's WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) aid.

Our evidence, delivered on 11 July, focused on the need for the EU to focus on addressing the support given to the water and sanitation sector as a whole, not just individual projects.

WaterAid gave positive suggestions of how the EU can ensure that its aid is more sustainable and equitable, based on more than 30 years of experience working with local partners, governments and service providers. More information on WaterAid's approach to ensuring permanence in their work is set out in our Sustainability Framework.

Daniel Yeo, speaking after giving evidence, said:

"This report highlights the scale of the challenges in providing water and sanitation for everyone, everywhere. We are really encouraged to see the Lords taking such an active interest in this vital issue. 

"We hope that Parliament will press the EU and other donors to focus their efforts on the key challenges in delivering water and sanitation and making sure that every penny of aid makes a lasting difference to the poorest and most marginalised people in the world.

"WaterAid and our partners stand ready to lend our expertise to transform lives through the basics of water, sanitation and hygiene."

Mariame Dem and Daniel Yeo also answered questions on:

  • How the EU work more effectively with international NGOs who are involved in this sector
  • What steps the EU can take to better secure the financial sustainability of projects be better secured
  • What the EU can do to work more effectively with local communities and local organisations
  • How the EU could monitor its projects more effectively

The committee has held four sessions as part of this short inquiry, of which this was the final session. It is expected that the Committee will then write to the European Commission with recommendations for action.

Watch the video of the committee session and the evidence given by WaterAid here.