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5th - 11th November 2023 in Swakopmund Namibia

Strengthening Systems and Partnerships for Accelerated Action on Safely Managed Sanitation and Hygiene

AfricaSan7 Conference Theme
AfricaSan7 Conference

The theme of the AfricaSan7 Conference is:

“Strengthening Systems and Partnerships for Accelerated Action on Safely Managed Sanitation and Hygiene”

The overall objective of the conference is:

“Revitalising the Pursuit of the Ngor Declaration Targets on Sanitation and hygiene”.

Specific objectives:

The specific objectives for the AfricaSan7 conference include:

  1. Strengthen partnerships and facilitate knowledge exchange for action on delivering safely managed sanitation and hygiene services
  2. Empower governments and stakeholders to fully leverage investment in sanitation and hygiene services
  3. Catalyse action on research and innovation, capacity development for sustainable and equitably sanitation and hygiene solutions
  4. Promote hygiene and behavior change and gender mainstreaming and inclusive approaches
Sub themes of the AfricaSan7 Conference

There are five (5) sub theme tracks on which the AfricaSan conference will be centered around. They are:

Subtheme 1

Subtheme 2

Subtheme 3

Subtheme 4

Subtheme 5

Partnerships for action to deliver sanitation and hygiene services

The session areas include:

  • Fecal sludge management and elimination of open defecation
  • Citywide Inclusive Sanitation (CWIS) toward achieving SDG2 6.2
  • Public-private partnership models for inclusive delivery of sanitation and health services
  • Operations and maintenance for the sustainability of sanitation services
Government and stakeholder engagements for improving the sanitation enabling environment

The session areas include:

  • Data and information for policy reforms and evidence-based intervention
  • Sanitation policies, regulatory frameworks and institutional arrangements
  • Climate change and resilient sanitation technologies for urban and rural communities
Innovative financing and resource mobilization

The session areas include:

  • Sanitation economy for sustainable service delivery
  • Smart financing for sanitation and hygiene service delivery
  • Financing the implementation of national action plans
  • Strategies and plan for sanitation and hygiene financing
Inclusion, hygiene and behaviour change

The session areas include:

  • Youth empowerment, gender mainstreaming in sanitation and hygiene programming.
  • Institutionalizing human resources and skill development for delivering safely managed sanitation and hygiene
  • Lessons from pandemics – COVID-19, Ebola etc
  • Hygiene and behavior change
Research, knowledge creation, capacity development, and learning

The session areas include: sanitation and hygiene

  • Education and capacity development
  • Innovative sanitation and hygiene technologies and design
  • Funding for research, knowledge creation, and capacity development
  • Knowledge sharing and learning


Sanitation and Hygiene Context in Africa

Clean water, safe sanitation, and good hygiene practices are prerequisites for health and contribute to productive communities. The Covid-19 pandemic laid bare the value of these basic necessities of life as handwashing with soap and water was acknowledged as the single, cost-effective practice of eliminating pathogens including the covid-19 virus. Despite these benefits, in Africa, 418 million people still lack a basic level of drinking water, 779 million lack basic sanitation services of which 208 million still practice open defecation. About 858 million Africans do not have access to safely managed sanitation and good hygiene services.  

About the AfricaSan Initiative

The Africa Sanitation (AfricaSan) Conference was initiated to provide a platform for technical and political dialogue with governments and stakeholders to identify and share knowledge to address the sanitation and hygiene challenges in Africa. Organised biennially, the conference promotes high-level political prioritization of sanitation and hygiene issues across the continent. Since its creation, the AfricaSan movement has inspired other regions across the developing world to initiate similar sanitation conferences. Some of which include East Asia Sanitation Conference (EASAN); South Asia Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN), and Latin America Sanitation Conference (LATINOSAN).

Central to the AfricaSan movement is the multi-stakeholder AfricaSan International Taskforce (AITF) coordinated by the AMCOW Secretariat. AITF serve as the think tank for sanitation improvement and provide technical support for sanitation processes, AfricaSan Ngor monitoring and AfricaSan Conference planning and execution.  Through the AMCOW Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), Member states provide leadership to the AITF and ensures its priorities are aligned with the needs of the Member States. 

The first conference took place in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2002. Since then, the conference has become a continental sanitation movement implemented in a cyclical process of commitment setting, action-planning, implementation and monitoring. It is worthy to note that since inception, the AfricaSan movement has led to two distinct high-level declarations namely the eThekwini declaration on Sanitation and Hygiene in 2008, and the Ngor Declaration on Sanitation and Hygiene in 2015.

The eThekwini Declaration

The eThekwini Declaration  is the outcome document of the ministerial dialogue held five years after the AfricaSan was established. The commitment set out a framework of action toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals on Sanitation. Moreso, the eThekwini commitments were endorsed by the African Union Summit of Heads of State in 2008 in Sharm el Sheikh and were embedded into the Sharm El Sheikh declaration.  This high-level endorsement generated huge political interest that led to a continent-wide reawakening of the centrality of sanitation in the development agenda.

The Ngor Declaration

The Ngor Declaration on Sanitation and Hygiene succeeded the eThekwini declaration in 2015. It was established by African Ministers at the AfricaSan4 conference in Dakar, Senegal. The Declaration outlines 10 specific commitments toward an overarching pursuit to “achieve universal access to adequate, equitable, inclusive, and sustainable sanitation and hygiene services and eliminate open defecation by 2030”. The Sustainable Development Goals further reinforces the Ngor commitments with the ambitious goal to achieve global access to safely managed sanitation and hygiene paying special attention to the needs of women and girls (SGD 6.2). Both the Ngor commitments and the SDGs are closely aligned in that they both focus on establishing the enabling environment necessary to attain universal access. The Ngor commitments were adopted by the Member States and monitored regularly by AMCOW to track country progress against national targets. In 2019, the Ngor monitoring progress report was developed and presented at the AfricaSan5 conference as the baseline information on the progress of the countries against the 10 commitments.

About two Ngor reports have been developed following the baseline report. Recent Ngor monitoring report indicated that commitments 7 – treating waste, commitment 8 – private sector engagement, and commitment 5 – developing human resources are the worst performing commitments. However, all hope is not dashed as countries performed strongly on enabling environment including commitments 4 – ensuring leadership, 9 – establishing monitoring, and 2 – mobilizing support and resources. Despite these progress, stronger collaboration, financing, capacity development and

partnerships is required to deliver sanitation and hygiene services to 1.3 billion people who still live without access to these basic services.

So far, six episodes of the AfricaSan Conferences have been organized across different countries in Africa. The venue of the conferences rotates across various African countries where the AMCOW Presidency resides. In 2021, the AfricaSan Conference and the Africa Water Week were organized jointly for the first time due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the AfricaSan7 will revert to the standalone conference format to give adequate attention to sanitation.  The AfricaSan7 Conference will maintain all the components of the previous conferences and the knowledge products generated housed on the AMCOW’s knowledge hub.