InterAction applauds the unveiling of the draft of USAID’s Global Water Strategy (GWS) Agency Plan.
The updated GWS improves upon the original from 2017 by improving the integration of key issues such as climate change resilience, social and gender equity, and the risk of violent conflict and fragility due to water insecurity. The new GWS draft builds upon the recently announced White House Global Water Security Action Plan to recognize that moving forward, the national security of the U.S. and its allies are tied to the state of global water security.
This draft, released in June 2022, represents the second iteration of the five-year strategy, originally instituted in 2017 through the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2014. The Water for the World Act of 2014 laid out a vision to redirect existing water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) funding to more equitable, impactful programs, focused on the communities most in need.
The GWS is a whole-of-government strategy with both USAID and the State Department contributing elements. The Water for the World Act requires the development and implementation of 5-year strategies through 2027, after which Congress would need to amend the bill to extend the GWS further.
The InterAction WASH Working Group has been closely involved throughout the development period of the GWS draft, submitting comments multiple times and hosting many formal and informal listening sessions and meetings with USAID officials. Key elements of InterAction’s advocacy have been the expansion of gender equity and climate resilience considerations, as well as increased monitoring and evaluation of programs and a broadening of scope to include national security. Each of these areas were greatly expanded in the new version of the GWS. One area that the InterAction community would like to see expanded further is the area of global health management through WASH development. WASH access is foundational for pandemic preparedness and global health and should be a key objective in the GWS going forward.
While this draft represents a great improvement over the original—incorporating many of the elements that the WASH community long advocated for—there are still improvements to be made. The InterAction WASH Working group collected feedback from the broader WASH community and submitted it during USAID’s public comment period. Those compiled comments are available here.
InterAction’s WASH Working Group will continue to provide feedback as the plan undergoes further development. The final draft is expected to be submitted to Congress in early fall 2022.
For more information about the WASH Working Group, please contact Chris Askew-Merwin, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.