August 08, 2012
KATHMANDU-The first national summit on drinking water and sanitation concluded on Tuesday with a Kathmandu Declaration urging the concerned actors to work together to achieve the national target of universal access to sanitation by 2017.
The two-day meet was jointly organised by the Federation of Water and Sanitation Users’ Nepal (FEDWASUN) and various government, non-governmental and donor agencies working in the sector.
The declaration stresses the need to work together and strengthen the coordination in areas such as participatory policy-making, capacity enhancement of the sanitation user groups, institutional development of FEDWASUN, and implementation of the programmes and services through the users’ network. Promotion of social campaigns on sanitation and cleanliness, and documentation of vital achievements in the sector are among other priorities of the declaration.
According to the statistics provided by the Department of Water Supply and Sewerage (DWSS) under the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works in 2010, still around 57 percent of the total population is deprived of basic sanitation facilities and around 20 percent people lack access to safe drinking water. A majority of the existing water supply infrastructure is either dysfunctional or lacks proper repair and maintenance.
Kamal Adhikari, sociologist at the DWSS and writer of the book ‘Sanitation in Nepal—Past, Present and Future’ launched during the summit, stated that the efforts for mainstreaming the strengths of communities in the sanitation sector activities are methodologically weaker.
Most of the programmes, he alleged, are the continuation of customary works of organising rallies and processions, gatherings and distribution of pipes and pans for latrines in public functions and the results are almost futile.
“There is a need for increasing the capacities, skills and facilities, and enabling institutional set-up to let the people internalise the values of sanitation and empower them to develop positive behaviours,” said Adhikari.