SACOSAN V: Sanitation for all, all for sanitation

WaterAid is participating in the fifth SACOSAN conference in Nepal, with the theme: Sanitation for all, all for sanitation.

News

Nepal

The South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN) is a government-led biennial convention to provide a platform for interaction on sanitation.

The fifth SACOSAN will be hosted by Nepal from 22-24 October 2013 in Kathmandu with the theme: Sanitation for all: all for sanitation.

The WaterAid team at SACOSAN V will be led by Girish Menon, Director, International Programmes Department. In addition to the team from WaterAid Nepal, we will be represented by colleagues from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.

SACOSAN V is a vitally important opportunity to tackle the sanitation crisis in the region, influence the UN post-2015 process, and lobby South Asian governments to commit to:

  • Urgent action to get the sanitation MDG target on track, through strengthening the sector and providing sufficient domestic resources to build effective plans that extend coverage of access to safe sanitation and hygiene.
  • Achieving equity, through providing sustainable sanitation and hygiene to poor, disadvantaged and marginalised people as a priority; to set out annualized benchmarks with effective monitoring systems.
  • A global goal on universal access to basic water and sanitation services as a fundamental human right, with a target date of 2030 for achieving universal access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene in households, schools and health facilities.

Girish Menon said: "WaterAid lauds the commitment of the governments of the region in reinforcing their commitment to address the sanitation crisis. Their leadership and political commitment is something that has been globally recognised and there is certainly cause for optimism. 

"Since the first Sacosan was organised in Bangladesh in 2003, the rates of open defecation has fallen from 40% to just 4%, and today, the President of Nepal declared Bhaktapur district, with a population 300,000, Open Defecation Free (ODF). This should strengthen our resolve that we can accelerate the pace at which sanitation is being improved in the region."

What is SACOSAN?

SACOSANs are intended to develop a regional agenda on sanitation, enabling learning from past experiences and setting actions for the future. The objectives of such conferences are to accelerate the progress in sanitation and hygiene promotion in South Asia and to enhance quality of people's life. The SACOSAN process is instrumental to generate political will towards better sanitation in the region.

The participating South Asian countries are: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The first conference was held in Bangladesh in 2003, the second in Pakistan in 2006, the third in India in 2008 and the fourth in Sri Lanka in 2011.

From the first SACOSAN in 2003, when WaterAid Bangladesh served as the secretariat, WaterAid teams have been closely involved with the SACOSAN process. Every host nation has been appreciative of the support provided, particularly through our input on the focus as well as the design of the programmes.

In keeping with this tradition, Ashutosh Tiwari, Country Representative, WaterAid Nepal, and Rabin Lal Shrestha, South Asia Regional Advocacy Manager, have both been members of the SACOSAN Five Working Group set up by the government of Nepal to organise the forthcoming conference.