El Salvador’s President of the Legislative Assembly, Sigfrido Reyes, has expressed his support for post-2015 development goals on good governance, women’s equality and water access for all – especially small farmers – at a meeting with Progressio Chief Executive Mark Lister.

During a meeting at the Houses of Parliament in London on 27 November, President Sigfrido Reyes (pictured above right) and Mark Lister (above left) discussed the challenges that poor communities face across the world. They talked about the progress El Salvadoreans are making to reduce poverty and about Progressio’s work to share skills in sustainable water management with small-holder farmers, including in remote poor rural areas of El Salvador like Ahuachapan and Santa Marta, Cabanas, where young Progressio ICS volunteers from Britain and El Salvador worked.

“Water is a public good and we need to ensure water is accessible for every family. Water is vital for food production and food security. Water is a serious problem in El Salvador where we have drought and floods. I support a water goal in the post-2015 agenda,” said President Reyes.

President Reyes also spoke of the El Salvador government’s plan with its draft Water Act to establish a holistic water resources framework in El Salvador covering issues such as water for agriculture, water waste, pollution and water companies/privatisation.

Progressio is working to strengthen the voice of poor farmers especially women so they can access water that is vital for food production – as Oranus and Christemene, farmers in Gens de Nantes, Haiti, told us: “Water is life, because without it we can’t do anything.” And Mimose, in Lamine, Haiti, told us: “We are concerned that things will only get worse without leadership and intervention. With the help of [Progressio partner organisation] Solidarite Fwontalye we have improved our farming techniques but the important thing for us now is to improve our access to water.”

That’s why we’re pressing for the post-2015 agenda to include:

  • Sustainable and equitable access to natural resources, in particular water. Linked to this, participatory water resource management and empowering communities with the skills and knowledge for how to manage and conserve water resources. Investing in solutions such as small-scale irrigation, storage and capture.
  • Investing in smallholder farmers, especially women. Ensuring that governments allocate public sector finance to support smallholder agriculture and invest in skill-sharing, teaching agro-ecological techniques and building adaptive capacity to increase resilience to extreme weather conditions.

Read more in our briefing paper A waterproofed post-2015 development framework.

Mark Lister was attending an International Parliamentary Conference on the Post-2015 Development Agenda organised by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. At the event he also met Abdirahman Mohamed Jama from the Somaliland House of Representatives; Abdirashid Mohamed Hidig, Member of the Somali Federal Parliament; Rugiyya Mohamed MP from the Maldives; Matiota Kairo MP from Kiribati; and Mabinty Kadijah Sillah MP from Sierra Leone.