Nepal WASH Blog Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) & Development in Nepal

April 22, 2011

Walk the talk to save lives demands SACOSAN IV

Filed under: Advocacy — Tags: — Shikha Shrestha @ 12:09 am

South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN) aims to accelerate progress of sanitation and hygiene work in South Asia to enhance people’s quality of life. The government of Sri Lanka hosted SACOSAN IV. The conference with the slogan of “Sanitation enhances quality of life” was attended by around 300 delegates comprising Ministers, government officials, activists, civil society, media and intellectuals.

His Excellency Mr.  Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka addressing inauguration of the Ministerial Summit of fourth South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN IV, 4-7 April 2011) appealed the world to divert their defense budget to development to reduce poverty and suffering. The defense budget of Sri Lanka was reduced from 5% in 2008 to 2% in 2010 to invest more on development including sanitation that paved as the fundamental base for health, education, economic growth and dignity of life.

The Heads of Delegation from Afghanistan , Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in SACOSAN IV committed for progressive realization of the right to sanitation in programmes, projects and finally in the legislation ensuring the right as the legally enforceable right with supportive sector policies.

SACOSAN IV was unique from previous summits as there was a separate session for grass roots activists. It was amazing to hear their motivating stories that if replicated could change regional scenario where 45% of people still defecating in open and bearing economic losses equating nearly to 5.8% of total regional GDP. It was shocking to hear that 750,000 children of the region had already lost their lives since last Delhi SACOSAN by diarrhoea.

The SACOSAN IV Colombo Declaration had clearly indicated commitment for context specific equitable and inclusive sanitation and hygiene programmes including better identification of the marginalized groups and proper monitoring to guarantee equitable sharing of development benefits. The pre SACOSAN IV consultation meeting of Civil Society Organizations had also chalked out its declaration with urgent action to end the sanitation crisis in the region.

Materializing and monitoring previous commitments with time bound action plan was another key essence in the Colombo declaration. It opened avenues of collaboration with its call of extending support as well as linkage in South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). It is dire need to walk the talk as sanitation is matter of life and death as expressed by Tom Palakudiyil, Head of Asia, WaterAid in opening address. Let’s hope SACOSAN V to be held in Nepal after two years would show case tremendous success of sanitation in transforming lives of people.

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