The 2nd National Environmental Sanitation Conference (NESCON 2011) took place from the 6th – 9th December 2011, in Kumasi, Ashanti Region on the theme, enhancing public-private-partnerships for effective environmental sanitation services - the role of stakeholders.
HE John Mahama, the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, officially opened the conference under the chairmanship of his Royal Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene.
In his keynote address, Vice President Mahama represented by the Hon. Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, the Minister for Local Government Rural Development (MLGRD) re-iterated the need for the urgent legislation of the polluter pays principle to enhance sustainable financing of services through the contribution of all categories of waste generators.
The Country Action Plan (CAP) “Go Sanitation Go” based Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Accelerated Framework (MAF) was then launched by Hon. Ofosu-Ampofo and the Resident Coordinator of the UNDP, Ghana Office.
On his part as the chair, the Asantehene, OseiTutu II, represented by Nana Darko Montwi II, recognised the presence of sector professionals and practitioners and urged participants to focus on finding solutions to the scores of environmental challenges rather than identifying new issues.
In his welcome address the Ashanti Regional Minister emphasised the commitment of government to environmental sanitation issues and called on participants to explore Kumasi; and also consider making the city the home of NESCON.
Naa Demedeme, the Acting Director of the Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate, MLGRD gave an overview of the state of sanitation in Ghana. There were solidarity massages from Development Partners, CONIWAS, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, and other stakeholders.
Hon. Ofosu-Ampofo joined by Nana Darko Montwi II then officially opened the NESCON 2011 exhibition. The exhibition had CHF International, Valley View University, the CLTS team and WASH-Resource Centre Network among others showcasing a range of information products, technology, and approaches.
The closing of the conference was dominated by the involvement of children, Zoom Kids quiz competition. This was another side event of the conference, which was viewed by many as value addition to the NESCON series. A quiz competition was held among selected schools and aired live on selected radio stations across the country. The winners were recognised and presented with awards at the closing ceremony.
Presenting the draft communiqué at the closing ceremony, Naa Damedeme stated that a special focus was given to the poor state of treatment and disposal of wastewater, septage and faecal sludges. He observed that a discussion on decentralized treatment of excreta disposal and recovery systems especially the application of anaerobic digestion treatment systems (ADTS) received favorable endorsement from participants.
According Naa Demedeme, the theme of the conference “reflects the current vision of Government as expressed in the current national medium-term development policy framework, Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA, 2010 -13) and its strategic directions for environmental sanitation services”.
The 3-day conference registered about 250 participants including Ministers and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs), private operators, NGOs, development partners, academics, legal experts, entrepreneurs and bankers among others.
The conference was organised by the Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (EHSD-MLGRD), in partnership with Development Partners, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), Private Operators and sector collaborators.
NESCON 2011 once again offered frontline sector actors and partners a platform for sharing experiences and lessons that can be replicated to accelerate adoption of best practices country-wide.
Abu Wumbei,RCN Ghana.