Governments from East Asia and the Pacific declared commitment to universal sanitation access
JAKARTA, 26 September 2012 - Through the signing of Bali Declaration on Sanitation and Hygiene in East Asia, the representatives of 13 countries, including Indonesia, have reaffirmed their commitment to continue working towards universal access for sustainable water, sanitation, and hygiene.
This event took place during the third East Asia Ministerial Conference on Sanitation and Hygiene (EASAN 3) which was hosted in Nusa Dua, Bali, on the 10th – 12th September 2012. EASAN is a biannual meeting of high-level senior government officials, as well as experts and civil society from East Asian and Pacific countries to discuss efforts in the field of sanitation and hygiene.
The declaration noted that East Asia as a whole has already achieved the Millenium Development Goals sanitation target for 2012, and is even projected to surpass it by 8 per cent in 2015. However, it also stipulates that equity and sustainability of sanitation facilities and hygienic behaviour are the next daunting challenges to the region.
This sentiment was echoed by Angela Kearney, the UNICEF representative to Indonesia, who stated that “[...] we need to address the significant inequities in sanitation and water coverage. The poorest and the most disadvantaged among us still do not have access to water and sanitation that will help them live strong and productive lives.”
According to a UNICEF report, Indonesia enjoys about 22 per cent improvement in sanitation coverage in 2010, compared to 1990 records. This still leaves almost half the population without improved sanitation coverage. Furthermore, this figure also translates to 73 per cent coverage in urban areas and merely 39 per cent in rural areas – a glaring indication of disparity in the country.
The same report also found that more than 40 million Indonesian don’t have access to improved drinking water in 2010.
Adequate water and sanitation play a vital role in child and maternal health, as inadequate water and sanitation conditions increases susceptibility to diarrhoeal disease – the cause of nearly a quarter of all deaths among children below five years of age in Indonesia.
By signing the Bali declaration, the delegates have pledged their commitment to increase efforts to close the water, sanitation and hygiene gaps through large scale community actions, to maintain sufficient budget allocations dedicated to relevant programs, and to provide capacity support to local governments.