To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the work being carried out with the support of her Department on Partners for Water and Sanitation. 
Since its inception in 2001, Partners for Water and Sanitation (PAWS) has brought together a forum of partners from Government, civil society and the private sector. The aim has been to contribute to the Millennium Development Goal for Water and the equivalent target for sanitation agreed at the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg in 2002.PAWS currently focuses on three countries—South Africa, Uganda and Nigeria. The current position in each of the partner countries is as follows.
Preparatory meetings in February and May 2002 set the scene for the development of the partnership in South Africa. A further meeting took place the following August to set out the ways in which the partnership could contribute to meeting the needs of municipalities in South Africa. This meeting examined these needs, and agreement was reached on guiding criteria to decide which municipalities will enter into partnership with the UK. The meeting also considered an outline programme of work to include study visits to municipalities by partnership working groups. Partners attended an inception workshop with four nominated municipalities in November at which presentations were made by the partnership to explain the basis for the initiative and by municipalities to explain their assessment of needs and priorities. Scoping study visits were made to Hungulu, Matjhabeng, Nkomazi and Zululand between January and April 2003, from which a number of conclusions and specific recommendations for action were generated. A bi-national meeting is planned to take place in South Africa in early June 2003 to consider the outcome of the scoping studies and to develop a plan of action for each municipality.
Following a series of preparatory meetings in April 2002, PAWS agreed to partnership engagement with the State of Enugu. A further visit was made by a small partnership working party in late September 2002 to participate in meetings at State Government level and to consider a detailed assessment of needs and how these might be met from partnership resources. The group reported to the Partnership Steering Group late in 2002 setting out areas which had been identified for possible partnership involvement. The group are currently finalising a plan for action over the next year, which includes the appointment of an in-country co-ordinator.
The concept of Partners for Water and Sanitation was introduced to Uganda in May 2002. An exploratory visit took place the following June, which identified potential stakeholders and furthered the development of the initiative in Uganda. The partnership was represented at the annual sector review at the end of September 2002. Discussions are continuing on the scope for partnership involvement in and the Secretariat are examining the options for exchange programmes to allow Ugandan Government technical staff the opportunity to visit the UK.