NEW DELHI: The weeklong Third South Asian
Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN-III) concluded here with a
unanimous declaration by heads of delegations, calling for national
priority to sanitation being basic right of citizens.
“Access to sanitation and safe drinking water is a basic
right, and according national priority to sanitation is imperative,
says the declaration, urging the governments to ensure a healthy
environment with clean air, soil and fresh water resources so that
the present and coming generations could enjoy their lives in a
The document calls for involving all stakeholders at all
stages, effective policy making, institutional and fiscal
incentives, working in partnership with religious leaders,
communities, institutions and local governments and service
The declaration, announced at the end of conference on
'Sanitation for Dignity and Health', lays emphasis on addressing
concerns of women and most vulnerable like infants, children
especially girl-children, the elderly on priority basis and
integrate special sanitation needs of women in planning,
implementation, monitoring and measurement of programme outcomes.
“Collaboration between countries will be strengthened to
develop capacities, sharing of best practices, and to promote
mechanisms for independent monitoring,” says the document
underscoring the need to promote technologies, requiring less or no
water and the practice of “reuse and recycle” of human wastes, and
solid and liquid wastes, including conversion into energy.
The declaration highlights need of an integrated city-wide
approach to ensure safe management of human wastes, and all other
solid and liquid wastes and facilitating urban poor, especially
those in slum settlements.
The delegations from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India,
Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, consisting ministers,
elected representatives, professionals, development partners and
non-government organizations, who attended the conference, committed
to achieve national goals and the Millennium Development Goals on
Sanitation in a time-bound manner by taking the certain actions.
They undertook to continue advocacy and awareness to sustain
the momentum given to sanitation explicitly at the regional,
national, sub-national and local levels, in policy, budgetary
allocation, human resources, and implementation.
It was committed that community efforts would be strengthened
and build capacity of local governments, non-governmental
organizations, youth and community groups to work in partnership for
sustainable sanitation solutions.
The delegations assured for occupational dignity, health,
safety and improve the profile and working conditions of personnel
involved in sanitation work and develop, and implement approaches,
methodologies, technologies and systems for emergencies, and
disaster situations, and for areas, with special characteristics or
groups suffering temporary displacement.
The member countries pledged to advocate globally the
recognition of climate change impacts on sanitation provision in
South Asia, and develop and implement strategies and technologies
that adapt to and mitigate impacts.
In the declaration it was also decided that an inter-country
Working Group, led by country focal points, will meet periodically
to promote research and development, collaborations, exchanges of
innovations, experiences and expertise; networks.
It was also announced that the momentum gained by the three
SACOSANs will be further continued by the hosting of the Fourth
SACOSAN in Sri Lanka in 2010, and the fifth SACOSAN in Nepal in