Thursday, October 11, 2012

Evolve Regional Strategy on Drinking Water Supply, Sanitation

As unclean water and sanitation is the world´s second biggest killer of children, the World Bank official on Wednesday urged countries in South Asia to evolve out a common strategy to tackle this problem in the region.

"Policy priority, insufficient funding, rapid urbanization and lack of public awareness have mainly impeded attainment of long-term sustainability of water supply and sanitation in South Asia," said Tahseen Sayed, World Bank country manager for Nepal. 

"Weak institutional capacities are other problems for us in the region to attain our goal of reducing number of people who do not have access to drinking water and sanitation," she stated 

Sayed was speaking at the South Asian regional conference on drinking water and sanitation, which kicked off in Kathmandu on Wednesday.

The three-day conference is being attended by more than 100 experts and officials from the different countries of the region. Through the conference, they hope to identify a common strategy to mitigate challenges seen in access to drinking water and sanitation in rural areas and also identify the workable institutional models for the region. 

According to the World Bank, more than 500 million people do not have access to sanitation and 250 million people to drinking water in South Asia, which is home to 1.6 billion people. 

"Despite its economic success, South Asia, now, represents the largest concentration of the world´s poor, as well as those lacking access to safe water and sanitation," said its statement.

According to the Bank, the conference will discuss on identifying sustainable ways of water supply, increasing sanitation access and reducing challenges -- challenges of declining water quality and quantity. "It will also focus on developing partnership between public and private sector to advance rural water and sanitation," Sayed said.

Janak Raj Shah, member of the National Planning Commission (NPC) said that the inadequate coordination among major players in the field of water supply and sanitation, weak implementation of the program and lack of proper approach to handle the projects were major hurdles of water supply and sanitation in Nepal. “

"We are lagging behind to achieve our targets under millennium development goals on sanitation and water supply," Shah said. The government has targeted to increase access to water supply and sanitation to 53 percent of the total population by 2015.

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