The fifth South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN-V) concluded in Kathmandu today with the signing of the Kathmandu Declaration. Ministers and head of delegates from the eight participating nations of South Asia signed the Declaration, which contain specific points to accelerate the momentum of sanitation in the region.
Addressing the closing session Khil Raj Regmi, chairman of the council of ministers said, “We know that improved sanitation has multi-faceted benefits such as improving health, nutrition, education and so many other parameters of social development. I express my sincere gratitude to the ministers and their country delegates who came to Kathmandu and made this regional event very successful. This conference has contributed to renewing our old friendships and partnerships; to share, assess and evaluate our regional cooperation to make our region free from communicable diseases caused by open defecation.I also congratulate the Government of Bangladesh for organizing the sixth SACOSAN and wish them every success in 2015.”
Speaking on the closing session Bharatsinh Madhavsinh Solanki, Minister for Water and Sanitation from India said, “We have made significant progress in providing the population with access to toilet facilities. From 386 million users of toilets in 2008, India now has about 621 million users. However, our growth is often offset by population growth.”
The Kathmandu Declaration was signed by Atiqullah Khawsi, Deputy Minister for Rural Rehabilitation and Development from Afghanistan, Abu Alam Md. Shahid Khan, Secretary of Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives from Bangladesh, Nima Wangdi, Secretary of Ministery of Health Royal Government of Bhutan, Bharatsinh Madhavsinh Solanki, Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation from Government of the Republic of India, Abdul Matheen Mohamed, State Minister for Environment and Energy from Government of Republic of Maldives, Chhabi Raj Panta, Ministry of Urban Development Government of the Democratic Federal Republic of Nepal, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Member of National Assembly Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and A. Abeygunasekara, Secretary, Ministry of Water Supply and Drainage Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
The Member of National Assembly Government from Pakistan also stressed the need to involve politicians in sanitation promotion and highlighted the importance of information management system to achieve sanitation targets. The Secretary of Health from Bhutan applauded the Open Defecation Free movement in Nepal while the head of the delegation from Bangladesh declared that the 6th SACOSAN will be organized by Bangladesh in 2015.