A billion people in South Asia still lack basic sanitation
2nd South Asian Conference on Sanitation in Islamabad reviews progress and issues in the region
The 2nd South Asian Conference on Sanitation was held on 20-21 September, 2006, in Pakistan. Delegates from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka participated. A 10-member delegation from India was led by the Minister of State, Smt. Suryakanta Patil.
In South Asia nearly a billion people still lack basic sanitation. Rapid urbanisation means that the number of people in cities without adequate toilets has increased from 134 million in 1990 to 153 million in 2004, yet the urban coverage is still double that of more rural areas.
“Since the first SACOSAN in 2003, around one hundred million additional people now have toilets, but that still leaves more than nine hundred and twenty million without. We also know that more girls will go to schools that provide separate and private facilities,” Ms. Lotse added.
The objectives of the conference were:
A country paper titled ‘A Movement Towards Total Sanitation in India’ was also presented at the conference.
At the end of the two-day meeting, the “Islamabad Declaration” was issued re-affirming the participating countries’ commitment to achieve the targets of basic sanitation in pursuance of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
On Thursday, 28 September, UNICEF launched the “Progress for Children: a Report Card on Water and Sanitation.” The report details the impressive progress made to date in expanding access to safe water and basic sanitation, but also makes clear that there is still a long way to go.
India will host the SACOSAN -3 in the year 2008.