GoAL WaSH Programme in Liberia is providing technical support to the Government of Liberia to reform the water and sanitation sector governance by establishing the Water Supply and Sanitation Commission (WSSC) that is to provide effective governance and regulation of the sector. Currently, water and sanitation governance is fragmented with roles and responsibilities split amongst several line ministries and public entities with different statutory mandates. Not one of these ministries has a specific national budget line for water and sanitation service delivery. This has been one of the key reasons why water supply and sanitation service delivery in Liberia has been low.
What have we accomplished so far?
GoAL WaSH Programme continues to support Liberia water sector governance reforms beginning with institution coordination and establishment of institutions solely responsible for the country water management. Despite of very limited fund available to GoAL WaSH programme, its support to water governance reforms in Liberia yielded a major outcome through drafting of an act in 2012 that was submitted to the Legislature by civil society organizations for review and passage into law to establish the National Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Commission (WSSC) government. Government in 2017 approved of the act, thus establishing Liberia WASH Commission which is responsible for the sector regulation.
On August 9, 2018, the President of Liberia His Excellency Mr. George Manneh Weah appointed executives of the Commission and subsequently confirmed by the Liberian Senate. Those confirmed by the Senate are: Mr. Bobby Whitfield - Chairman & Chief Executive Officer (CEO); Mr. Salia O. Kamara - Executive Director.
The President also constituted the Board of Directors of the Commission. The statutory members of the board are: Minister of Public Works - Chair; Minister of Mines & Energy – Member; Minister of Health - Member; Minister of Education - Member; Managing Director/LWSC - Member; Director General/NPHIL - Member; Executive Director/EPA - Member; Mr. Prince Kreplah/Representing CSO; Involve with WASH Initiatives - Member; Mr. Ernest G. Sharpe/ Representing the
Private Sector – Member.
Currently, GoAL WaSH Programme since against is providing mentorship to the newly appointed officials of the commission. Principally, the team is being supported in areas of organogram of the institution, development of work plan, etc. Moving forward, GoAL WaSH programme in collaboration with the National Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Commission develop a long-term capacity development programme for the commission in areas of WASH regulation and traffic setting.
The Liberian Senate passed the National Water Supply and Sanitation Commission (WSSC) Act – an important milestone for the UNDP-SIWI Water Governance Facility’s GoAL WaSH programme. Once operationalized, it will help to improve water and sanitation supply and service delivery in the country, thereby helping to minimize the spread of water borne diseases.
The programme has been working with the Government of Liberia on water and sanitation governance reforms since 2011. One of the main goals has been to establish a regulatory agency for the sector. It also led the drafting of the WSSC and played a lead role in setting up the legislative WASH advocacy network.
The Act, when made operational by the Government of Liberia, will serve as a regulatory agency for the water supply and sanitation sector, responsible for regulating tariffs, licenses and service standards in Liberia. It is awaiting the signature of the President to be passed into law.
SIDA FUND 2011-2012
Prior to UNDP GoAL WaSH programme intervention, WASH activities in Liberia had a weak coordination and project activities implemented by partners in most cases were duplicated.
UNDP GoAL WaSH programme supported the Government of Liberia in overcoming some of these challenges by playing a leading role in rejuvenating the National Water Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion Committee (NWSHPC) housed in Ministry of Public Works. NWSHPC Secretariat since 2011 continue to be active and leading on sector coordination with regular monthly meetings held. The meetings bring together government policy makers, technicians, civil society organizations, private sector, development partners and donors on a round table.
UNDP Goal WaSH Programme supported the Government of Liberia in 2011 to organized and host the Joint Donor Mission in Liberia under the auspices of Sanitation and Water for All (SWA). The Mission outcome, Liberia WASH Compact was developed and signed by the President of Liberia in January 2012.
UNDP GoAL WaSH Programme drafted two Executive Orders (Executive Order to set up WSSC and an Executive Order to set water board) in Liberia. The President of Liberia in 2015 acted on the Executive Order to set up the National Water Resources and Sanitation Board (NWRSB). Currently the board is chaired by the President of Liberia. No action has been taken by government on the Executive Order to set up WSSC.
UNDP GoAL WaSH Programme also developed WSSC Act and was submitted to the House of Representatives by Liberia WASH Consortium and Civil Society Organizations. That Act was approved by the House of Representatives on July 20, 2016 and sent to the House of Senate for review and concurrence before sending it to the office of the President of sign off by the President and printing into hand bill for implementation.
BASQUE FUND 2012-2015
UNDP GoAL WaSH Programme in collaboration with WaterAid Liberia successfully revised Liberia WASH Compact saving government and partners time and resources in developing a new Compact when in fact the previous one has not been fully implemented. The compact contains four key commitments (non has been implemented by the government), they are as follows:
1. Establish and strengthen institutional capacity
2. Ensure equity and prioritized service provision
3. Develop System for Information Management
4. Improve sector financing mechanism
UNDP GoAL WaSH Programme in 2013 collaboration with Wateraid Liberia successfully revised Liberia WASH Compact that was developed in 2012. The objective of the revision was to save government and partners from producing a new WASH Compact since the previous one life span was from 2012 to 2013 and that would been need for the development of a new compact for the sector. Liberia WASH Compact has four commitments are as follows:
GoAL WaSH programme in Liberia with funding from the Basque Country over the years worked with Ministry of Lands Mines and Energy and established WSSC Interim Secretariat from 2013 to 2016 when funding was exhausted. The intend of setting up the Secretariat was to serve as an incubator that supposed to transition into full WSSC when established and made operational by the government. It is therefore expected that the Secretariat would have a strong institutional memory of GoAL WaSH Programme support to the sector governance reforms.
Under the guidance of UNDP GoAL WaSH Programme and in collaboration with Liberia water sector stakeholders, WSSC Interim Secretariat developed Water Regulatory Guidelines and National Advocacy Plan for Liberia water and sanitation sector. Both of these documents are were submitted to Ministry of Lands Mines and Energy by the Secretariat for sector use.
UNDP GoAL WaSH Programme funded Liberia Civil Society Organizations WASH Network to carry out nationwide water governance reforms advocacy to create sufficient awareness to create town hall discussions by community people. Currently, there is sufficient awareness on water and sanitation sector governance reforms in country. Prior to this time, not many water and WASH users had information on one of the reasons for lack of or low water supply and sanitation service delivery in the country.
II. UNDP GAIN CONTRIBUTION
UNDP GoAL WaSH Programme with funding from UNDP GAIN and in partnership with Liberia Ant-Corruption Commission (LACC) successfully concluded in 2015 the Water Integrity study in Liberia. The study is the first ever to be conducted in Liberia water sector. The aim of the Water Integrity Study was to identify the management strength and weaknesses of the Liberia Water Sewage Corporation, the public Water and Sewage Company. See full report for details and recommendations to government for implementation.
III. SIDA FUND 2016-
UNDP GoAL WaSH Programme also worked with Liberia WASH civil society group to provide expert clarity to the House of Representatives Committee on Public Utilities the relevance of the proposed WSSC Act. The Act was passed by the House of Representatives in July 2016 and now before the House of Senate Committee on Public Health for final review and concurrence. When passed and approved by the President of Liberia, WSSC Act will pave the way for Liberia water and sanitation sector governance reforms. The reformed sector governance is expected to reduce the current water and sanitation governance fragmentation. WSSC will serve as a regulatory agency responsible to set national water supply and sanitation service standards, issue service licenses, and establish a strong and vibrant public private partnership (PPPs) in the sector. The objective is to increase access to quality water supply and sanitation services to the population and provide a single and direct leadership for water sanitation and Hygiene sector.
UNDP GoAL WaSH Programme in partnership with sector stakeholders and development partners continue to play lead role in the development of the proposed Liberia Water Authority Act. The first draft of the Act was worked on by GoAL WaSH programme and USAID funded consultant in the latter part of 2016. The second and final version is also being supported by GoAL WASH programme. GoAL WaSH in addition to support in the actual write up of the LWA Act also provided office space for a local consultant to clean up the Liberia Water Authority (LWA).
The LWA idea is a slit shift from the original idea of Liberia Water and Sanitation Sector governance reforms. With advise from Liberia Good Governance Commission that is to advice the President and Government to move on with the creation of new entities, the sector settled down to the recommendation of LWA that will incorporate WSSC and all other departments in the new reformed water sector governance in Liberia.
UNDP GoAL WaSH Programme focused on supporting the development of Liberia water and sanitation sector governance reforms by supporting the sector and policy makers in developing one single Act; Liberia Water Authority Act. If accepted by the Government of Liberia, LWA is to become the single authority in Liberia responsible for water and sanitation governance. Liberia sector current management and standards remains limited and often non-existent, resulting to poor service delivery, un paid bills, and water and sanitation services under funded by the government of Liberia.
UNDP GoAL WaSH Programme as part of effort to support government improves water and sanitation service delivery, submitted a concept paper UNDP Global Environmental Fund (GEF) for review and possible funding. Prior to this time, the concept paper in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia (EPA) that is the focal person for GEF in Liberia on the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) gave the proposal an approval. If considered, the proposal is to compliment all of GEF Climate Change funded projects in Liberia;
UNDP GoAL WaSH Programme continued to support the Government of Liberia through Ministry of Lands Mines and Energy to conduct WASH Pool Fund Feasibility Study. The objective of the feasibility is to determine how effective both government and partners funding to water and sanitation is managed. Hence, the ultimate objective of the study is to meet Liberia WASH Compact Commitment 4 “Improve sector financing mechanism”. It is expected that the study will recommend to government to set up a Water and Sanitation Trust Fund.
UNDP GoAL WaSH Programme in collaboration with Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) and Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC) piloted the Water Integrity Study Report in one rural city specifically focusing on mechanism design by LWSC to collect tariff on revenue water and to understand how the corporation qualifies institutions to benefit from non-revenue water delivery.