Skip to content

NEWS: The South Asian Conference on Sanitation, April 4-7

DAWN reports, “The four-day South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN) to be held from Monday April 4 in Colombo, Sri Lanka is expected to focus on safe sanitation and hygiene issues. The ministerial level meeting will conclude on April 7. Freshwater Action Network South Asia convener Ramisetti Murali…said that although the South Asian countries have rectified (recognized) the United Nations declaration that states sanitation as a basic human right, all these countries have so far not made it as party of country constitution.”

“(Murali) said despite commitments during last SACOSAN, the South Asian countries have not made progress in providing basic sanitation, due to which millions of the people in these countries are suffering. ‘I visited Hyderabad Dakhan last year where 12 people reportedly died of contaminated water due to the absence of basic sanitation system in the area, but it is not the only example, official data reveals that around 750,000 children have so far reportedly died due to the diarrhea since last SACOSAN and that is an alarming figure,’ he said. …Poor sanitation now stands as a major obstacle in the fight to reduce child mortality in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan,” he said.”

“Around 140 representatives from civil society groups from the South Asian countries that included Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Nepal, Bhutan and Afghanistan, and from international organisations working in the region, gathered in Colombo to exchange experiences and draft peoples’ demands from the governments of South Asian Countries for the betterment of the sanitation crisis. The Delhi Declaration 2008 set out clear commitments and milestones for tackling the crisis. It also recognised that access to safe sanitation and drinking water is a basic right and in particular that national priority to sanitation is imperative. This reaffirmed the commitment to achieving millennium development goals on sanitation by 2015. Non-government organisations—Freshwater Action Network, South Asia, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council and Water Aid jointly organised the two-day consultation meeting that began Friday.”

Another DAWN article, more focused on the situation in Pakistan, notes, “According to WaterAid’s report ‘Sanitation Crisis Continues in South Asia’, some 1.027 billion (64 per cent) out of 1.595 billion people in the region lack access to improved sanitation and almost every second person practices open defecation. …The Pakistani government (has) failed to incorporate ‘access to safe sanitation’ in the national constitution.”

The articles are at http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/03/south-asians-call-for-equitable-sanitation-programmes.html and http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/01/pakistan%E2%80%99s-failure-on-sacosan-commitments.html.