The Africa Water and Sanitation Local Authorities (AWASLA) Network was officially launched on 4 December, during the opening day of the Africities 6 Summit in Dakar, Senegal. AWASLA aims to engage regional and international organisations, non-governmental organisations, research institutions and individuals as Associates of the Network that cooperate towards building a platform for exchanging knowledge and best practice on urban water and sanitation in Africa.
AWASLA is an innovative and powerful platform for local governments to connect, exchange knowledge and good practice. It also aims to inform decision making and empower advocacy – ensuring that the local government voice is heard at both the regional and international level. The Network is open to all local and sub-national governments and their associations in Africa – and is committed to achieving more sustainable and effective urban water and sanitation practices in African cities.
The launch of AWASLA was presided over by Mayor Ousmane Dramé from the City of Nioro du Rip in Senegal, in his official capacity as Chair of the ICLEI Africa Committee. Mayor Dramé welcomed participants to his home country of Senegal and noted that the launch was an opportunity for local governments to consolidate momentum in seeking a more sustainable and resilient urban water and sanitation future in Africa.
The three founding partners of the AWASLA Network invited local governments to endorse the Network and demonstrate their commitment to improving urban water and sanitation practices on the continent. The founding partners are ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability-Africa, the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLGA) and the International Water Association (IWA).
During the launch, Charles Patsika of the UCLGA (who spoke on behalf of Taraiya Ole Kores, President of UCLGA) said “We require deliberate, focused and persistent effort directed towards resolving this challenge – we must as Africa address our challenges in a more coherent manner; one that links research and theory to practice and solutions development… AWASLA has the potential to achieve that goal.”
The Network was partially funded by the European Commission through the three year ACCESSanitation project – Accelerating City to City Exchange for Sustainable Sanitation.