Sanitation summit pledges basic rights

Kathmandu, November 21:

The Third South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN III) concluded in New Delhi today with the participating countries recognising people’s access to drinking water as a basic right.

Minister for Physical Planning and Works Bijay Kumar Gachhadar, who led the Nepali

delegation, told The Himalayan Times that the participants were eager to achieve national and millennium goal on sanitation. “The new declaration won’t just be a mere formality,” he said.

According to him, the declaration pledged to achieve national and millennium goal on sanitation in a time-bound manner.

“We assert that achieving total and sustainable sanitation in all communities is not only possible but also a cherished goal,” Gachhadar quoted the declaration. According to him, the New Delhi declaration has identified key principles to achieve the sanitation goals.

The key principles included the promotion of wider participation of all the stakeholders,

effective advocacy, change of people’s behaviour, partnership with the stakeholders, allocation

of budget in all levels, strengthening of community efforts, improvement in working conditions for sanitary personnel, and development of appropriate technologies and methodologies.

The New Delhi declaration has also promised to promote collaboration among the SAARC countries with the help of appropriate mechanism, said the minister.

According to him, 17 countries, including some non-SAARC countries, took part in the

meeting. UNICEF representatives were also present.

The United Nations has designated 2008 as International Year of Sanitation.

According to the new declaration, Sri Lanka will host the SACOSAN summit in 2010. Nepal’s turn will come in 2012. Indian Prime Minister Dr Man Mohan Singh had inaugurated the meet on Sunday.