Freshwater Action Network
– grassroots influencing on water and sanitation

Spirit of Kathmandu declaration on track but it's time for action

Closing plenary

Press release: 25 October 2013

Freshwater Action Network South Asia (FANSA) welcomes the spirit of the Kathmandu Declaration but urges  South Asian governments to realise their commitments and ensure accelerated and sustainable progress on sanitation and hygiene to avoid the loss of lives, particularly of the children under five, due to lack of sanitation.

Murali Ramisetty, FANSA Regional Convenor, highlighted the importance of next steps:


“The overall SACOSAN V process was very good with active participation of civil society and other stakeholders. Now the Governments need to make a whole hearted effort to translate the spirit of commitments into action, particularly in recognising and realizing the Human Right to sanitation. This right is essential to ensure justice and equality for the poor and marginalised.”


More specifically FANSA:

  • welcomes the priority given to equity and inclusion issues and South Asian governments’ commitment to reach the poor and marginalised, particularly the commitment to reaching out to the urban poor regardless of land tenure which has been a stumbling block in previous service delivery efforts;
  • welcomes the reconfirmation of previous SACOSAN commitments, especially the specific reference to the human right to sanitation. FANSA urges SAARC countries to ensure that this right is included as a legally enforceable right in national legislative frameworks;
  • congratulates South Asian governments on their detailed commitment to monitoring progress against SACOSAN declarations. This however needs to be based on robust monitoring systems and standards and indicators at national and sub-national level;
  • urges governments to systematically report against SACOSAN V as well as previous commitments in SACOSAN VI to ensure mutual accountability and a clear understanding of progress on increasing sustainable access to sanitation for all;
  • finally, welcomes governments’ renewed and holistic understanding of sanitation as including issues of climate change planning, environmental considerations and disaster risk reduction. This, however, requires resources for capacity development at national level to ensure this commitment becomes a reality.

Civil society is committed to supporting governments in the realisation of these commitments. As a first step, FANSA will disseminate commitments at the grassroots level to ensure citizens are aware of their government’s promises to tackle the sanitation crisis. Civil society is also committed to continuing to monitor progress and hold decision makers to account.

FANSA actively participated in SACOSAN V by bringing the voice of those most in need, the poor and marginalised, to this regional decision making forum. Building on strong evidence highlighting the sanitation challenges faced by the urban poor, excluded and marginalised groups such as people with disabilities, women and children.

Murali said,” I am glad that SACOSAN V has emphasised in reaching the services to the poor and most marginalized communities and more emphasis on making the sanitation services inclusive particularly focusing on the needs of the people with disability.”


Notes to editors:
For all media enquiries, please Mr. R Murali on local mobile no.: +977 989803322933 Email:; Mr. Yakub Hossain, Email: and Ms. Lajana Manandhar on +977 9851035594 Email:

Copies of CSOs statement of SACOSAN V, Traffic Lights discussion paper, FANSA’s regional reports on equity inclusion and urban sanitation and the SACOSAN V Kathmandu Declaration are available online

Commitments between SACOSAN meetings are tracked at


For the latest news from SACOSAN, please visit: and like our face book page at

FAN South Asia (FANSA) is a regional network of more than 400 civil society organisations. FANSA aims to strengthen the engagement of CSOs in policy-making and development initiatives to achieve the international targets on water and sanitation, improve regional cooperation between CSOs of differing perspectives, priorities and skills to increase the number of NGOs to advocate and communicate clearly on water policy issues and the broader agenda.