Kalpana Ambastha via web
NATIONAL WORKSHOP ON STRATEGIES TO ENGAGE WITH GOVERNMENTS IN ACHIEVING SDG6
03 April 2018 Venue: Vishwa Yuvak Kendra, New Delhi
A national level multi stakeholder civil society workshop was organized in New Delhi on 3rd April 2018 to deliberate on the progress of SDG6 and develop strategies for collective action by key Water and WASH sector players to support the Government efforts in achieving SDG 6. The workshop was organised by the Freshwater Action Network South Asia (FANSA) in collaboration with Watershed India, WaterAid and NIUA. The workshop involved key water and WASH sector organisations as Water for People, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, WASH Institute, Water.org, India WASH Forum, Kerala Institute of Local Administration (KILA), Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI), World Vision India, SOPPECOM, ATREE, state chapters of FANSA among others. Watershed India supported organization of the workshop, as well as participated through its landscape partners (Nidan and Gram Utthan) and technical partners (CBGA and ACT). The workshop underscored on the current SDG6 progress monitoring framework, agencies involved, levels of participation and accountability and on identifying gaps and synergies to prepare an action plan for creating the space and opportunity for participation, monitoring and review of SDG6. In the workshop, the results of the study on national accountability mechanisms for tracking progress on SDG 6 in India were discussed. An important issue that emerged from the study, presentations and the panel discussions was that the accountability and review structures need to move from being internal, based on flagship project indicators that may not necessarily be in sync with the global indicators, to one that is more inclusive and involves wider stakeholder consultations at various levels. Right now a lot of focus is on SDG target 6.1 and 6.2 however, the Strength of the SDG6 lies in that 6.1-6.6 should be considered all together and there is a need to understand how they work together,. Much of this integration happens at the Gram Panchayat levels and there is need to build capacities and have voice of citizens represented by local CSOs. The workshop also saw session on Initiatives, Challenges and Future plans on SDG 6 processes at the State level in which the progress and challenges with respect to SDG6 implementation in various States as Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar were discussed. Madhya Pradesh has developed a Vision 2030, involving constitution of nine taskforces to address the SDGs. Similarly, in Kerala the State Planning Board serves to integrate and steer the activities of all the line departments towards SDGs and has set a Central Plan Monitoring Unit (CPMU) for the purpose. The KILA centre for SDGs builds the capacity of local government and partners to address the SDGs.
In the workgroup discussions, the need for actions for popularisation of SDGs at subnational, local government and grassroots level was emphasised to achieve public participation in implementation and monitoring processes. There is opportunity to engage with government on harmonizing information from various sources, greater use of ICT. The capacity of citizen to express needs to be strengthened by creating a forum for ensuring their voice is heard, employing social audits, citizen report cards and engaging youth and school children.
The national workshop provided an opportunity for the Watershed landscape partners to network with civil society active at the state and national level. It was also an opportunity for them to be aware of the processes leading up to the measurement of SDG indicators. The workshop also indicated that the current dialogue is heavily biased towards sanitation sector, and does not take into account the role of water as an ecosystem. Watershed India can therefore fill this void by contributing to knowledge needs pertaining to targets 6.3 and 6.4. The workshop saw the constitution of National Task Force team for follow up on the implementation of strategies evolved in the workshop to strengthen engagement at various levels i.e. national, state, district and Panchayats to disseminate and popularize the importance of reaching SDG6. It would be useful for Watershed India to share learnings and key messages from the pilot sites on integration of the SDG6 targets within the local development plans, the use of data to support advocacy and discuss opportunities to further engage on these aspects.