Sanitation enhances quality of life” 4TH – 7th April 2011 Colombo, Sri Lanka



 we, the Heads of Delegation from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, participating in the 4th South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN) in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 4th -7th April, 2011, which was attended by

Ministers, senior civil servants, grass-roots activists and community members, professionals from sector institutions, academia, civil society, NGOs and development partners, the private sector and schoolchildren:

  • Acknowledge that the sanitation and hygiene situation in South Asia remains at a crisis point; the numbers of people who practice open defecation or who rely on unimproved sanitation remain unacceptably high; since the last SACOSAN meeting 750,000 children have died in the region from diarrhoea which is strongly linked to poor sanitation;
  • Recognise the potential of sanitation to empower communities and to be a powerful entry- point for development;
  • Affirm the value of the SACOSAN process in maintaining political momentum to tackle this crisis and in support of the global Five-Year Drive for Sustainable Sanitation and reconfirm the principles of good sanitation and hygiene set out in the declarations made at Dhaka (October 2003), Islamabad (September 2006) and New Delhi (November 2008); and
  • Renew our joint commitment to investing in the people of South Asia through policies and programmes that deliver sustainable sanitation and hygiene to all.

Further to this renewal of our commitment we unanimously agree and commit:


  • In light of the recent UN resolution recognising the right to sanitation, to work progressively to realise this in programmes and projects and eventually in
  • To develop time-bound plans and to allocate and mobilise resources for delivering on all previous SACOSAN commitments.
  • To design and deliver context-specific equitable and inclusive sanitation and hygiene programmes including better identification of the poorest and most marginalised groups in

rural and urban areas, including transparent targeting of financing to programmes for those who need them most, and taking into account the challenge of protecting the environment and responding to emergencies and climate change.

  • To raise the profile of WASH in schools with the objective of ensuring that every new and existing school at every educational level has functioning, child-friendly toilets, separate for girls and boys, with facilities for menstrual hygiene
  • To establish one national body with responsibility for coordinating sanitation and hygiene, involving all stakeholders including, but not limited to, those responsible for finance, health, public health, environment, water, education, gender and local government at national, sub- national and local levels.
  • To establish specific public sector budget allocations for sanitation and hygiene
  • To progressively increase allocations to sanitation and hygiene over
  • To recognise the importance of people’s own contribution to sanitation and to ensure that policies and programmes empower communities to invest in and control their own sanitation solutions while protecting the
  • To develop harmonised monitoring mechanisms with roles and responsibilities clearly defined, using agreed common indicators which measure and report on processes and outcomes at every level including households and communities, and which allow for disaggregated reporting of outcomes for marginalised and vulnerable
  • To include in monitoring mechanisms specific indicators for high priority measures such as WASH in schools, handwashing and menstrual
  • To adopt participation, inclusion and social accountability mechanisms from planning through to implementation in all sanitation and hygiene programmes at the community level, particularly for the most marginalised areas and vulnerable
  • To build and strengthen capacity for sanitation and hygiene implementation, including investing in higher education facilities, development of curricula, research and development, and knowledge exchange and partnership development.
  • Continue to ensure the effectiveness of the SACOSAN process by committing to report specifically against these and all other SACOSAN commitments when we meet again in Nepal in two years’ time, inviting participation from ministries of finance, health, education and other relevant ministries in all future
  • To support the monitoring and implementation of the Delhi Roadmap prepared at SACOSAN III through a country-led process of self reporting and the holding of an annual meeting of the Inter-country Working Group formed at SACOSAN I which would review

We further call on


Development banks, external support agencies and the private sector to increase their support to our efforts, to provide financial and technical assistance for sanitation and hygiene promotion, and to improve aid co-ordination for sanitation and hygiene in South Asia.


SAARC to include sanitation and hygiene in its activities and to make a link with SACOSAN.


The United Nations to consider the reality of the sector in South Asia when formulating  a new generation of Development Targets post-2015 and in considering modifications to the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme, to take into account the need to monitor community-wide outcomes and the high number of shared and community toilets in parts of South Asia.

We express our profound appreciation to the Government and people of Sri Lanka for their excellent hosting of this event and for their generosity and hospitality.

Colombo, Sri Lanka, 6th April, 2011



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