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The Dhaka Declaration

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An important change agreed upon is the creation of a SACOSAN Secretariat and a Working Group, to facilitate communication and horizontal learning between the biennial conferences. The Sri Lankan government has volunteered to host the Secretariat.

Another point in the declaration is to reach out to other multi-country fora with information and advocacy for sanitation improvement. SAARC, the regional coalition,  was specifically mentioned; and a SAARC representative spoke in the concluding ceremony.

Urban sanitation, unreached people and areas, hygiene issues, sanitation in public places, and resilience of sanitation facilities to climate change all were indicated as needing priority attention. Member countries were urged to ‘accelerate sanitation coverage and hygiene behavior change, in order to meet SDG 6.2.

The document affirms commitment to SDG’s, as did the closing speeches of country representatives. There are few details, however, to guide member countries in adjusting their institutions, monitoring systems, and political-economic lives to reach the extremely high standards of the SDG’s. There is sure to be a strong and difficult conversation about this at the upcoming meeting of the high level Sanitation and Water for All (SWA), scheduled for March in Addis Ababa.

According to my anonymous sources, at least two proposed points did not make it in: sanitation as a human right & giving attention to disaster-resilient technologies (a Nepal priority). But climate change was mentioned in the document.

Download the Dhaka Declaration

Date: 19 January 2016