Aligning for Action in Water and Sanitation in Nepal
Kathmandu, 15 March 2011: An agreement on "Aligning for Action: Sanitation and Water for all in the Context of Climate Change in Nepal" was signed between the Government of the Republic of Finland and UNICEF in Kathmandu this afternoon. Mr. Kari Leppanen, Acting Charge d' Affaires of the Finnish Embassy and Ms. Gillian Mellsop, UNICEF Nepal Representative signed the agreement that outlines the Finnish Government's grant of Euro 9.8 million over five years for UNICEF Nepal's Water and Sanitation Programme.
The funds will help the formulation and development of a national WASH sector programme in Nepal. The programme will target the most marginalised and underserved people in the country by ensuring that access to improved sanitation and water supply systems is increased in these areas. The funds will also help develop the emergency preparedness and response capacity of the Government of Nepal, with contingency plans in all disaster prone districts.
The programme will also support other existing programmes in the education and health sectors to promote sanitation and hygiene in the country. It will complement the work of the Government to ensure that all children in Nepal will have access to child friendly schools, which promote basic hygiene, including menstrual hygiene. Similarly, it will also work to ensure that families, especially those from disadvantaged groups, adopt basic hygiene behavior practice like hand-washing with soap.
"Finland is presently supporting two large water programmes, one in western and the other in far western Nepal. However, in a country where only 37 percent of the rural population have access to toilets, the Finnish Government is pleased to support Nepal and UNICEF in their drive to unite multiple partners to focus on the key issues of sanitation and hygiene,” said Mr. Leppanen. "We are confident that with UNICEF's hands-on experience in the field and its influence at the policy table, now bolstered with partnerships in the public and private sector, great strides will be made to support Nepal reach the MDG target for water supply and sanitation by 2015."
"This current support to UNICEF, together with the two on-going programmes, the total grant investment of the Government of Finland in the water resources, water supply, sanitation and hygiene sector of Nepal has now reached Euro 33 million."
Improvement in governance and cooperation in the WASH sector, coupled with the increasing efficiency of sustainable service delivery systems will also help address potential impacts of climate change. It is expected that improved governance in the WASH sector will enable the scaling up of climate change resilient water supplies and sanitation services in a sustainable and equitable manner.
"UNICEF Nepal is privileged to work with Government of Finland," said Ms. Mellsop. “Assured funding over five years allows us to be more strategic in our planning for sectoral reform. Our eyes are now set on 2017, with the aim of achieving water and sanitation coverage for all Nepalis including the most disadvantaged living in both rural and urban centres."
For more information:
John Brittain, Chief, Communication Section, UNICEF, Ph: 5523200 - 1182