Burkina Faso Keep Your Promises! What do we know about water and sanitation in Burkina Faso?



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Burkina Faso – Keep Your Promises!

What do we know about water and sanitation in Burkina Faso?



  • Out of a population of 16.47 million, 83% have no access to improved sanitation and 21% lack access to improved water (2010 figures)1.

  • Open defecation is still one of the biggest concerns in Burkina Faso with 9.7 million people (59%) still defecating in the open. This has however been reduced from 70% in 2000 according to the WHO / UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) for Water Supply and Sanitation.2

  • 11% of the population have gained access to improved sanitation since 1995 and 46% have gained access to improved drinking water sources.

  • Burkina Faso is one of the nine countries in sub-Saharan Africa that have performed above the regional average in terms of the proportion of their 2010 population that gained access to improved drinking water sources since 1995.

  • Water and sanitation related illnesses kill more young children than AIDS, malaria and measles combined. Diarrhoea is the second biggest killer of children worldwide.

  • 20% of the country’s population live in urban areas and there is a 5% rate of urbanisation per year3. These rapidly increasing urban settlements lack sufficient sanitation facilities for the population.

National WASH Targets and existing WASH commitments




  • MDG

Within Goal 7 on Environmental Sustainability, a global target was set to halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

  • The drinking water target has now been reached but 783 million people still lack access.

  • 2.5 billion people, that’s equivalent to over one in three of the world’s population, still lack access to a clean, safe toilet - At current rates of progress, it will be over two centuries until the MDG target is reached in Sub-Saharan Africa.  With diarrhoeal diseases caused by unclean water and poor sanitation now the biggest killer of children in Africa, increased progress is urgently needed.

These are global targets but, if we look at individual countries, the target for Burkina Faso can be calculated at 54% access to improved sanitation and 72% with access to improved drinking water. Burkina Faso has already reached their water MDG target but, at current rates of progress, may not meet the sanitation MDG target for 76 years.3


32 African countries signed the eThekwini Declaration in 2011 making a number of commitments including:



  • establishing specific public sector budget allocations for sanitation and hygiene programmes.

  • agreeing to commit to at least 0.5 percent of GDP to, sanitation and hygiene.

  • To develop and implement sanitation information, monitoring systems and tools to track progress at local and national levels.




  • Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting Commitments 2012

Developing countries, donor countries and development banks participated in a historic High Level Meeting in April 2012. Each published a statement which set out the actions they would take on water and sanitation in the next two years.


Burkina Faso’s commitments included:


  • By 2015, the government has pledged to have provided drinking water to 4,500,000 additional people (1.8 million in urban areas and 2.7 million in rural areas).

  • By 2015, the government has pledged to have put an end to open defecation in Burkina Faso, and to have improved the access of 3,000,000 additional people to adequate sanitation (1,470,000 people in urban areas and 1,530,000 in rural areas).

Specifically, the government has committed to:




  • Allocate at least 17.5 billion (USD 35 million) annually to financing the water and sanitation sector.

  • Increase the rate of access to clean water in all of the country’s communes to at least 65%.

  • Support the communes in creating minimum services with a view to enabling them to exercise their responsibility and ownership of the water and sanitation services.

  • Promote sanitation through innovative approaches implemented by the communities and leaders themselves in all regions of Burkina Faso in order to put an end to open defecation.




  • Other National Plans




  • Burkina Faso has an Accelerated Growth and Sustainable Development Strategy (SCADD). This strategy recognises the essential role of clean water, hygiene and sanitation in improving the health and well-being of the population and reducing poverty.4




  • The National Programme for the Supply of Clean Water and Sanitation 2015 (PN-AEPA 2015) has been underway since 2007.




  • Burkina Faso has joined the Sanitation and Water for All Initiative and signed its guiding principles.




  • A “Water and Sanitation” partnership framework was established in 2010 under the government’s leadership for dialogue and consultation between the government and the technical and financial partners (TFPs). This framework was expanded over 2011 to include civil society organisations.

The right to safe drinking water and sanitation in Burkina Faso





  • Burkina Faso has ratified several international treaties4, and voted in favour of the General Assembly resolution 64/292, explicitly recognizing the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation.




  • Legal recognition of a right to water and sanitation ensures that access to minimum essential supplies of safe water and basic sanitation is a legal entitlement, rather than a charity. This right therefore provides a basis for individuals to hold governments and other actors accountable.




  • Governments must respect principles such as non-discrimination, access to information and participation, transparency and accountability.




  • National legislation in Burkina Faso refers to an explicit guarantee of the right to safe drinking water and sanitation. The ‘Framework law on Water Management, Law No. 002-2001’ states that: ‘The law acknowledges the right of everyone to be able to use water corresponding to their needs and for the basic requirements of life and dignity’.5


1 JMP 2012

2 JMP 2012

3 JMP 2012 WaterAid analysis

4 SWA High Level Meeting 2012 Statement of Commitments

5 http://www.freshwateraction.net/sites/freshwateraction.net/files/RTWS-sourcebook.pdf




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