About Regional Sanitation Centre

Regional Sanitation Centre has been duly constituted legally as a separate institution attached to the Ministry of City Planning and Water Supply Sri Lanka to perform its mandate as agreed with the Inter Country Working Group comprising Country Focal Persons of SACOSAN member countries in the South Asian region. The was established in August 2017 with the approval of the Government of Sri Lanka to fulfill commitments made at SACOSAN  V and  SACOSAN VI held in Kathmandu and Dhaka respectively

SACOSAN V – Kathmandu Declaration

The idea of the RSC was mooted based on the outcome of the Knowledge Management session of SACOSAN V in Kathmandu. In order to establish SACOSANs as a process for achieving national sanitation goals of its member countries in the South Asia region an agreement was reached at SACOSAN V to establish a permanent institutional arrangement to fill the gap between two SACOSANs,   in communication and monitoring of commitments   made at each conference.

Commitment made by Sri Lanka was endorsed at the Ministerial Conference at SACOSAN V in Kathmandu and incorporated into the Kathmandu Declaration as follows;

 

“We welcome the offer of Sri Lanka to host the SACOSAN Secretariat and act as a resource, knowledge and learning Centre on sanitation and hygiene facilitating coordination, regional and cross regional exchange and sharing, with other regional sanitation meetings while also contributing to research and capacity development in South Asia.”

·        SACOSAN VI Dhaka Declaration

The same was reiterated at SACOSAN VI Dhaka and the following statement is included as the no 7 commitment

Promote continual learning and sharing of experiences and innovations between and within countries by various mechanisms including:

  1. A functional and dynamic SACOSAN Secretariat in Sri Lanka by 2018;
  2. An ICWG with an expanded role to enhance knowledge exchange and learning between meetings;
  • Relevant research and development;
  1. Appropriate use of information technology and traditional and new

 At the SACOSAN IV held in Colombo, Sri Lanka a draft Terms of Reference for the ICWG was prepared by the CFPs with particular help from UNICEF, WATERAID and the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC). At the subsequent ICWG Meeting held in Colombo following SACOSAN IV, the felt need of the participants was to have the SACOSANs and the ICWG regionally recognized and supported. The obvious organization to provide that recognition and support was deemed to be the South Asian Association on Regional Cooperation (SAARC) with headquarters in Kathmandu, Nepal.  

Following the SACOSAN IV hosted by Sri Lanka, at the SAARC Conference held in the Maldive Islands soon after, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, responding to the request of the country representatives of the South Asian countries and the external partners, proposed that SAARC recognize the SACOSAN movement. SAARC endorsed the concept at that conference and followed up by commissioning the preparation of a Framework for Sanitation for South Asia. The objective of the Framework was to help provide guidance on the critical support arrangements necessary, to help the countries in moving forward. The Framework prepared  by SAARC through consultations with the countries in South Asia, assisted by UNICEF, recommended the setting up of a Secretariat for Sanitation for assisting the SACOSAN process and for providing a permanent arm for the ICWG. 

SAARC was however not able to host the Secretariat due to institutional constraints, but it supported the concept of one of the countries in South Asia hosting it. The Framework for Sanitation and the critical supports necessary was presented at SACOSAN V in Kathmandu during the briefing made to the relevant Ministers. Pursuant on the discussion which followed, the Hon. Minister for Sri Lanka offered to host the Secretariat which was duly accepted. Recognizing the need in addition for knowledge management and information exchange, the concept of expanding the Secretariat to a Regional Centre received acceptance. 

Commitment of international donor agencies to support the specialized activities of the secretariat was ensured at a round table discussion had after the 6th ICWG meeting in Kathmandu At the same meeting it was agreed that the proposed unit to be identified differently for the SACOSAN Secretariat established by the host country of the next SACOSAN. With the functions to be performed the ICWG members agreed that this unit be called the Regional Sanitation Centre (RSC).

 

 Main Focus of the RSC

  • To develop a permanent resource centre for knowledge management, promotion of  research ad best practices, aiming at narrowing the sanitation gap among SA regional countries
  • Maintain the spirit of SACOSAN and strengthen regional collaboration
  • Capacity building and networking
  • Establish a repository for SACOSAN and develop a compendium on SACOSAN process since its inception in Bangladesh in 2003.
  • New technologies and knowledge to be adopted and shared between regional countries
  • Facilitate regional activities related to hosting of SACOSAN
  • Mobilise ICWG support to promote the role of the RSC and identify areas for research and development
  • Exchange information and activities of all partners in the sanitation sector in the SACOSAN countries

          -RSC’s first major activity since its inception was the Regional MHM Training of Trainers held in November 2017

          -The next major event is the Sustainable Sanitation solution(3S) Conference scheduled to be held in February 2019

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