Opening Ceremony Of The 2022 World Toilet Summit
ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, DELIVERED BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, ON THE OCCASION OF THE OPENING CEREMONY OF THE 2022 WORLD TOILET SUMMIT, ABUJA ON 18TH NOVEMBER, 2022.
I bring you the warm greetings of our President, President Muhammadu Buhari on whose behalf I have the special pleasure and privilege of joining you at this 2022 World Toilet Summit, 2022. May I join in warmly welcoming our distinguished participants, especially our foreign guests. I must mention in particular, Prof. Jack Sim, thank you very much for coming.
Nigeria is committed, I think this has been repeated already, to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 6.2 for Sanitation which seeks to “achieve by 2030, access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.”
Our commitment is motivated by the realization that meeting our sanitation targets also means meeting other very important development goals including the enhancement of social inclusion, poverty reduction, expanding access to quality education, quality healthcare and expanding business growth and entrepreneurship. But progress on achieving the global SDG Sanitation target of safely managed services is regrettably among those furthest behind, especially with high disparities in access across wealth quintiles and locations.
Globally, an estimated two-thirds of people who lack basic access to sanitation services live in rural areas, with nearly half of them in Sub-Saharan Africa, while 92% of the world’s population practising open defecation live in these areas.
It is estimated that it will require a quadrupling of the current rate of progress to meet up the 2030 target and that is the global 2030 target. For Nigeria, we will need to triple current investments in the Sector to meet our target by 2030.
But with the current financial and fiscal constraints, this additional expenditure cannot be accommodated by the government budget alone, so, we will need the contribution of our partners and of course, all stakeholders. This is why I think the theme of this summit, which is ‘Sanitation Innovations for Economic Development’ speaks to the issues of partnership and the need for collaboration in overcoming this global sanitation crisis.
While governments must acknowledge their role in providing the needed leadership to rally all other stakeholders in contributing to improved and sustainable access to sanitation services, the development sector, the private sector, civil society, research institutions, media, and other stakeholders, must also play their roles especially to bringing in the technical expertise, finance, advocacy, and also by promoting innovative and scalable approaches towards strengthening systems for accelerated progress.
The Government of Nigeria has consistently affirmed its commitment to the development of the Water Sanitation and Hygiene Sector, the acronym for which is, “WASH” and has demonstrated all of these, especially all our aspirations through the many initiatives that it has championed. And some of them are the declaration of a State of Emergency and the implementation of the National Action Plan for the Revitalization of the Sector, the implementation of the Partnership for Expanded Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) programme, and the launch of the: ‘Clean Nigeria, Use the Toilet’ Campaign to end open defecation, which is backed by a Presidential Executive Order.
A coordination platform for private sector organizations working in the WASH sector known as Organized Private Sector in WASH (OPSWASH) was also established to ensure effective coordination of private sector interventions. In addition, the National Outcome Routine Mapping survey (WASHNORM) was instituted to monitor progress on the achievement of the SDG 6.1 and 6.2 targets.
The annual WASHNORM Report informs planning, intervention, profiling and evidence-based advocacy. A capacity building and research programme was also established to strengthen the workforce for improved sanitation service delivery in the country. And, this is being done in partnership with educational institutions for the training of artisans, of technical, middle and senior-level manpower.
The drive to end open defecation through the ‘Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet’ Campaign is progressively gaining traction and accelerating access to sanitation services in the country with a total now of 85 LGAs who already have Open Defecation Free status (ODF) recorded.
We recently achieved one State-wide ODF status and that is Jigawa State, and of course, Jigawa State has been very openly commended for that achievement and we hope that this will encourage swift action in other states to achieve that same status. There are of course also other thousands of certified ODF communities across the country.
While the demand for sanitation services is being generated through the social and behaviour changes communications approach of the Campaign, we also recognise the need to strengthen the supply side of the value chain and maximize sanitation, the sanitation economy potential in the country.
A 2020 Report on Nigeria’s Sanitation Economy says that there exists a $15.5 billion sanitation economy with prospects of rising to $26.1billion by 2030. This is broken down to $22.5billion for toilet economy, $1billion for the circular sanitation economy and $2.6billion for the smart sanitation economy.
However, only a few of these potentials are being exploited and there is a need to identify scalable approaches for their realisation. It is therefore important that we bring in innovation and new solutions to actualize this. That of course means providing an enabling environment that would incentivise the Private Sector and promotes sustainability.
It is this search for new ideas that informed our launch of a National Sanitation Innovations Challenge that is tagged ‘SANIC Competition.’ The challenge is geared towards harnessing creative ideas and solutions towards ending open defecation, improving access to sustainable sanitation and building the sanitation economy.
This challenge is open to all States of the Federation and will help us to identify scalable approaches that can be supported and projected. Winners of the challenge will be awarded prizes and we call on all stakeholders to support this initiative.
The 2022 World Toilet Day holds tomorrow and the theme as you are already aware is ‘Sanitation and Groundwater’. This calls for us to consider sanitation systems innovations that protect our groundwater, being a major source of water for many of us. We need to promote resilient and sustainable solutions across the sanitation service chain without negatively impacting on the environment.
This year, Nigeria witnessed as you already know, flooding across many communities and this, of course, caused havoc on lives and properties, including our sanitation systems and has already demonstrated to us the urgent need to expeditiously address our sanitation challenge. And recently Mr. President inaugurated the Presidential Committee on a Plan of Action for Preventing Flood Disaster in Nigeria. The Committee is mandated to come up with sustainable solutions to address the perennial flooding in Nigeria.
In the next two days of this conference will consider several of the important and critical issues some of which have already been raised and I have been told that even before this formal opening ceremony, a lot of discussions have gone on and I believe that this gathering of distinguished experts and stakeholders will come up with outcomes that will certainly be game changers and will move us significantly forward in our search for the kind of solutions that we require that will significantly improve sustainable access to sanitation services.
We look forward to your recommendations.
It is now my special pleasure and privilege to officially declare open, the 2022 World Toilet Summit.
Thank you all very much.