National conclave on Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene begins

NL Today

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Kathmandu: A National Conclave on Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) kicked off in Kathmandu on Tuesday. The two-day event aiming to undertake a joint sector review in WASH is being attended by over 200 people who include the representatives from the three-tier government, from the private and non-government sectors, civil society people, experts and the development partners.

Inaugurating the event, acting Water Supply Minister and the Minister for Labor, Employment and Social Security, Sharat Singh Bhandari, said the event would provide a significant guideline for actions required to implement to achieve the goals in WASH. Similarly, Water Supply Ministry secretary Ram Adhar Shah said the Conclave will audit challenges and opportunities in the area of WASH, promoting accountability on the part of stakeholders for sectoral improvement. Accomplishments so far in WASH were possible due to collective efforts and commitments and joint endeavor ahead are equally needed to meet the remaining objectives, he said.

The Conference is also expected to announce its future strategy in WASH. Secretary at the Ministry of Urban Development, Rabindranath Shrestha, urged authorities concerned to choose projects viable for implementation instead of working on unfeasible ones. Joint-Secretary at the Ministry of Water Supply, Tiresh Prasad Khatri said the thematic papers would be analysed and reviewed on the first day of the National Conclave today while a declaration along with the conclusion regarding the works to be carried out on various themes in the coming days would be issued on the second day tomorrow. He added that the Conclave will provide guidelines towards meeting the SDG related to providing clean drinking water by 2030. The Conclave will also formulate a concrete strategy to fulfilling this SDG.

More than 400 municipalities have developed their WASH related plans. The government has also announced to conduct a National WASH Campaign this year. UNICEF Nepal’s deputy representative Jee Hyun Rah stressed on the need of pursuing such programs attaching priority to inclusiveness and the marginalized communities. She suggested carrying out works related to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene through joint efforts by increasing investment and through the effective implementation of the existing legal provisions. Chief Executive Officer of National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority (NDRRMA), Anil Pokharel said every infrastructure of the WASH sector should be constructed keeping in mind the disaster management aspect.

In Nepal, 95 percent of the population has access to basic drinking water and of this, 26 percent has drinking water facilities with treatment plan. Similarly, 95 percent of the population has access to toilet facility while 10 percent has sewerage management facility as well.