South Asia: Ministers vow to tackle “biggest sanitation challenge in the world”
Updated - Wednesday 13 April 2011
South Asian ministers have vowed to tackle the “biggest sanitation challenge in the world”. In the Colombo Declaration  released on 7 April 2011 at the 4th South Asia Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN IV), they promise to set up a national body in each country to “coordinate sanitation and hygiene, involving all stakeholders”. The aim of these bodies would be to enable access to sanitation to the 700 million South Asians who still defecate in the open. In addition governments would develop "time-bound plans and [...] allocate and mobilise resources for delivering on all the previous SACOSAN commitments.”
A coalition of civil society organisations welcomed the Colombo Declaration as "a progressive step forward". In a statement  the coalition highlighted the declaration's commitment to the progressive realisation of the right to sanitation and the development of strong monitoring and accountability mechanisms.
Delegates at SACOSAN identified three important funding issues: the need for dedicated funding, increasing available funding and, most importantly, spending the available funds within the timeframe set. The heads of delegation from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka were among the more than 300 delegates from government, UN agencies, civil society and private sector that attended SACOSAN IV, which was held from 4-7 April 2011 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
India, Nepal and Maldives score 13 out of 20 points for implementing previous SACOSAN declarations according to the online WASHwatch platform developed by CSOs to monitor government commitments and budgets in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector.
 The Colombo Declaration [PDF, 962 KB]
 CSO Coalition's Response to SACOSAN-IV, Colombo Declaration, 11 Apr 2011
Web site: SACOSAN IV
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