Access to safe water and sanitation is a human right, as recognized in 2010 by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The Human Right to Water and Sanitation (HRWS) is inextricably linked with other human rights and therefore lack of access equally has a profound negative impact on many of the related human rights.
This one-year research was undertaken to establish the status of implementation and monitoring of the human right to water and sanitation in Uganda, in order to provide support for increased alignment of the legal framework, key sector policy frameworks, implementation and monitoring strategies, with the existing human rights commitments of the government.
This project was designed as a baseline study, using the WaterLex Country Mapping tool, which ultimately aims to identify gaps at the levels of: legal and policy framework through a structural analysis; planning and implementation of the public policies through a process analysis; and monitoring of public policies through an outcome analysis. As a result, a comprehensive multi-stakeholder analysis was undertaken through extensive desk reviews of the legal and policy frameworks; stakeholder mapping undertaken at the levels of law and policy-making, planning, implementation and monitoring; and evidence collected through field studies in the five sample districts – Kisoro, Nakapiripirit, Lira, Kamuli, and Amuru. These districts were selected through both random and purposeful sampling, using an agreed protocol defined and approved by the Project Steering Committee that was established and chaired by the Uganda Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE). Research findings were shared in a national stakeholder workshop during which an action plan for targeting the current unserved and underserved population of Uganda was defined to support the government’s efforts for securing universal access to safe water and sanitation.
In an extensive analytical and descriptive effort, this report of the Country Mapping is intended to contribute to the organizational setting and the current practices of MWE and the broader water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector and to engage a national dialogue on what should be the measures and indicators to adopt and apply at each of the three levels in order to ensure the integration of the HRWS.
Based on the varied levels of assessment, four key recommendations for promoting universal access to safe water and sanitation in Uganda have been advanced and detailed in the report’s Action Plan under Chapter 5 as follows:
- Enhanced Legal Framework: Consider legal options that will address gaps identified in the current legal framework for enhancing the enabling environment for HRWS compliance and delivery in Uganda;
- Harmonized National Standards: Revise current national water, sanitation and hygiene standards and the sector performance measurements to align with HRWS norms and service criteria and the SDG goals/targets;
- Baseline Analysis and Target Setting for HRWS Implementation: i) Establish a baseline with clear disaggregated data of the unserved areas and groups based on the specification of minimum core obligations with respect to substantive and procedural rights that apply nationally irrespective of rural/urban divide; and ii) Define a Targeted Strategy for Progressive Realization of Safe Water and Sanitation for all; and
- Accountability: Review the current Governance Framework to promote accountability and independent regulation to support enforcement of norms and standards that will accelerate universal access. Expedite the process of setting up the independent regulator.
It is anticipated that the Uganda MWE and the water, sanitation and environment sector partners will utilize the findings from this country mapping in further articulating the HRWS norms and standards in the planning, implementation and monitoring processes. This will be in line with the recent Joint Sector Review 2015 Undertaking Number 10 on Policy and Institutional Issues which commits to “review the sector performance monitoring framework to incorporate the water quality monitoring, good governance, the human right to water, climate change, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the National Development Plan II” (See, JSR, 2015 Agreed Minutes, page 20).
Given the scope of this study, further analyses may be required as well as support to MWE to deliver targeted trainings on the application of the various principles of the HRWS with a view to enhancing state and note actors’ capacities and to provide further information on the strengthening the sector monitoring framework for the progressive realization of HRWS in Uganda as the sector moves towards universal access.