ESAWAS CWIS regulation framework applauded at Lagos International Water Conference

Citywide Inclusive Sanitation is gaining ground as countries realized that achieving 2030 targets of safely managed sanitation services requires an inclusive sanitation approach that combines both sewered and non-sewered sanitation services. Regulation plays a significant role in accelerating access to quality sanitation services and ESAWAS has been leading conversations to establish and strengthen regulation at local, regional and international gatherings of water and sanitation actors.

Considering its long standing and rich experience in water supply and sanitation regulation, the ESAWAS Regulators Association was invited as a keynote speaker at the 4th Lagos International Water Conference, organized and hosted by Lagos State Government through Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission (LASWARCO) from 5th to 6th July 2023 under the theme of “Accelerating sanitation and hygiene for all in Lagos Megacity through regulation and innovation”.

The aim of the conference was to facilitate the dialogue and sharing of knowledge on improving access to safely managed sanitation and hygiene using robust regulatory mechanisms towards the achievement of the SDG 6 in Lagos state and environs. ESAWAS was represented by its chair of the Technical Committee, Eng.  Anselmo Munhequete from Autoridade Reguladora de Áqua, Instituto Público (AURA, IP) of Mozambique. Eng. Anselmo discussed the framework for urban inclusive sanitation regulation developed by ESAWAS with highlights of the framework in practice in Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda. The framework outlines the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders at different levels; and along the entire sanitation service chain.  The countries have modified legislative instruments for sanitation regulation and have adapted guidelines developed by ESAWAS to the country context.

Participants found the framework on inclusive urban sanitation regulation very relevant to LASWARCO and were enthusiastic to learn more about the strategy to promote the buy-in of the framework for improved sanitation services in Lagos Megacity. Practical experience was also shared on how the same institution is able to regulate both water and sanitation sector as it is the case for AURA, IP and other regulators which are members of the ESAWAS Association. It was clear from the active debate that inclusive urban sanitation regulation is needed to ensure the involvement and alignment of all stakeholders.

The Lagos International Water Conference is organized every year since 2021 and brings together water and sanitation practitioners and development partners to exchange transformational and innovative ideas towards lasting solutions to water and sanitation challenges faced by megacities such as Lagos.  It is considered as an opportunity “to attract investment necessary for strengthening the key fundamentals of the sector: regulatory environment, the governance structure, the financing strategy, technical operations and commercial performance of service providers” (Mrs Funke Adepoju, ES/LASWARCO).