Freshwater Action Network
– grassroots influencing on water and sanitation

SAARC Secretary General applauded Citizens’ Charter

Citizen Charter handover

 

Thousands of citizens of Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka created a momentous day in the history of the South Asia region to launch regional Sanitation campaign in South Asia. The campaign is calling on all South Asian governments, donors and citizens to join hands to tackle collectively the sanitation challenge in the region by increasing finances, targeting the resources towards poor and excluded people and groups to reduce service gap.
 
The campaign is also calling all SAARC governments to work collectively under SAARC to adopt and present to the UN general assembly a common position on the inclusion of targets and indicators for achieving universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene services by 2030 within the post 2015 development framework.
 
In two day campaign launch events citizens’ charter was adopted as well a statement from members of parliament. A delegation led by member of parliaments and Civil Society handed over Citizens charter to the honorable SAARC secretary general Mr. Ahmed Saleem and eight SAARC directors representing all SAARC member countries. 
 
‘Through sanitation campaign you are doing extremely great job, this is a noble cause and I am gracious that you are presenting citizens’ charter to SAARC, said SAARC secretary general’. Speaking on the occasion, Lord McColl member of the House of Lords UK said we acknowledge the campaign cause and very pleased to come here to support this tremendous movement, it was not long ago when our parliaments was shut down temporarily due the stench of sewer in Thames river, then government decided to build an infrastructure.
 
A dignity march was organized in Kathmandu to launch the campaign attended by thousands of community members, members of parliaments, civil society organization, disabled people, children, journalists and women to show solidarity with the one billion people in the region who do not use improved sanitation and call for action to save half million children lives being wasted due to diarrhea and prevent sexual assault on women not having sanitation facilities.
 
About 18 members of parliament from South Asia and UK held three hours deliberation and recognized and appreciated the initiative and resolved to work collectively for improving sanitation. Parliamentarians adopted a common statement agreeing to persuade governments to increase sanitation financing, calling their political parties to enshrine human right to sanitation and committed to increase share of their development fund to sanitation. 
 
A citizens’ charter on right to sanitation was adopted which called upon government spend at least 1% of GDP to achieve universal access to sanitation to enable monitoring of this spend, include a separate budget line for sanitation within national budgets. Ensure universal access to sanitation including in all households, schools, health centres, work places, public buildings and public spaces/places. Include specific measures to increase community participation, in planning, implementation and management of sanitation services, and for improving transparency and accountability. Eliminate all forms of manual scavenging and ensure dignity and equality for the sanitation workforce.
 
Citizens’ charter called upon donors to prioritise and considerably increase financial allocations to sanitation, focusing on the most off-track countries with low domestic resources. Increase investment in sanitation programmes and infrastructure in rural areas with special emphasis on marginalised and excluded communities. Increase the share of grants in total aid to enable countries to focus on basic sanitation services in poor and rural areas.