Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2014
Our Voices Helped Pass the Water for the World Act!
On December 19, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2014, Public Law 113-289.
Influential and diverse faith leaders joined voices in support of passage. It was among the last acts of the 113th Congress. (You can see the letter we sent to key Members of Congress below.)
The legislation was led by Congressmen Blumenauer (D-OR) and Poe (R-TX) and by Senators Durbin (D-IL) and Corker (R-TN), and was endorsed by nearly 80 non-governmental and faith-based organizations. It was passed unanimously by the 113th Congress.
For a bit more background... In 2005, Congress passed the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act, which, for the first time, made safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) foreign policy priorities of the US, and directed USAID and the Department of State to invest in WASH in the poorest countries and the places where the multiple benefits of WASH make the most impact. However, funds weren't being targeted to support the regions with lowest access to WASH and a lack of consistent reporting results and how funds were expended added to the inefficiency. Water for the World amends Water for the Poor, as an aid reform bill focused on getting better outcomes and improving transparency in decision-making and investments. Water for the World recognizes the importance of WASH programs to poverty reduction, global health, and U.S. national security; and that U.S. investments must be smart, strategic, efficient and impactful.
Passing Water for the World Means:
Smarter investments: USAID will now use a set of criteria to assess the need for access to water and toilets and the health impacts of life without these services. With better focus, it will decrease the use of limited funds for purely political purposes and increase the efficiency and benefits of US investments in WASH. The result will be improved access to WASH and all its benefits to more of the world’s poorest and most marginalized citizens.
Ongoing capacity: USAID and the State Department each currently have a senior position focused on WASH. Water for the World makes both of those positions required by law, so that the entire government, along with civil society and partners around the world, can count on consistency, coordination, and WASH expertise in the US government, regardless of politics.
Better strategy:Water for the World requires a whole-of-government strategy, led by USAID and the Department of State, be developed every five years, to build upon the current strategy, important expertise and diplomatic relationships and to evolve as the world changes and our understanding of what works improves.
Lasting Services: One of the greatest challenges for WASH has long been sustainability -- ensuring financing and maintenance for wells, pumps, and latrines. Water for the World helps USAID determine not only where to invest in WASH but will identify gaps to be addressed to ensure that communities have the knowledge and resources they need to keep the water running...
FAITHS FOR SAFE WATER'S LEADERSHIP LETTER TO CONGRESS:
Speaker Boehner Majority Leader McCarthy Minority Leader Pelosi Majority Whip Scalise Minority Whip Hoyer Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel, House Committee on Foreign Affairs Majority Leader Reid Minority Leader McConnell Majority Whip Durbin Minority Whip Cornyn Chairman Menendez and Ranking Member Corker, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Senator Boxer Senator Cardin Senator Shaheen Senator Coons Senator Udall Senator Murphy Senator Kaine Senator Markey Senator Risch Senator Rubio Senator Johnson Senator Flake Senator McCain Senator Barrasso Senator Paul We thank you for your willingness to consider the Water for the World Act (H.R. 2901.) We are encouraged by the strong bipartisan support and urge you to now bring it to vote and passage during this Congress. This smart, level-funded legislation targets regions in greatest need of clean, safe water -- the foundation of all life. Why is this important? As we watch Ebola spread, we must ask, what is love for our neighbor? To do everything in our power to provide this vital life-saving tool to those in need – clean water. In the impoverished areas of West Africa hit with Ebola, clean water is a necessity too many do not have. Doctors Without Borders says one of the key reasons outbreaks spread is limited access to resources such as running water. In too many cases, family members who come in contact with an infected person or body can't even wash their hands. Clean water is vital to prevent, treat and contain disease. Water is life. But an estimated 748 million people around the world must rely on unsafe water, and 2.5 billion live without the dignity and safety of sanitation. 5000 people die every single day from deadly diarrhea and children are hardest hit. The Ebola outbreak is merely the most recent reason why access to safe water and sanitation must be prioritized in all global health and development work. One thing the diverse human family has always recognized and agreed upon is that water cleanses and purifies. Water is the singular symbol we all share–from ablution and baptism, to prayer preparation and blessing ceremonies. Every faith-based non-governmental organization, regardless of its focus issue, must recognize the fundamental necessity of safe water and sanitation to their various missions. Passage of the Water for the World Act is one way we can all come together to “let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.” Rev. Jennifer D. Crumpton, Park Avenue Christian Church Rabbi Jack Bemporad, Center for Interreligious Understanding The Very Reverend James Kowalski, Dean, the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Armenian Orthodox Church Rev. Dr. Galen Guengerich, Senior Pastor, All Souls Church the Rev. John L. McCullough, President and CEO, Church World Service Rabbi Burt Visotzky Rev. John Vaughn, Executive Vice President, Auburn Theological Seminary Rabbi Justus Baird, Dean, Auburn Theological Seminary The Rev. Alison J. Harrington, Presbyterian Church USA Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz, Founder & President, Uri L'Tzedek The Rev. Fletcher Harper, Executive Director, GreenFaith Rev. Cameron Trimble, Executive Director and CEO, Center for Progressive Renewal Susan Barnett, Founder, Faiths for Safe Water Jack Walsh, Senior Advisor, Children's Medical Ministries; CEO, Disabled Children's Fund Malcolm Morris, Chairman, Millennium Water Alliance Richard L. Santos, President & CEO, IMA World Health W. David Welch, Chairman, Living Water International Rev. Dr. Jacqueline Lewis, Middle Collegiate Church USA