“64 percent of population of Pakistan has access to improve sanitation” Zahid Hamid
Islamabad: The 3rd Pakistan Conference on Sanitation (PACOSAN) held in Islamabad. Federal Minister for Climate Change Zahid Hamid addressed the participants in the inaugural session of conference. He said Sanitation is basic human right, which must be provided to every human being. Poor hygiene and sanitation not adversely impacts our health but also lead to multiple socio economic and environmental problems especially contamination of water resources.
He further highlighted that according to Global Joint Monitoring Program Report of 2015 by UNICEF and WHO 64% of population of Pakistan has access to improve sanitation. Pakistan ranked second in South Asia with very high under five-mortality rate of 72 per 1000 children. There are 25 million cases annually suffering from diarrhea. More than 300 children die everyday due to poor sanitation and hygiene services.
He also told the participants that in September 2015, Pakistan along 190 countries committed itself to realization of targets set out in the sustainable goals. On 19th February 2016 the national Assembly of Pakistan unanimously passed the resolution adopting 2030 agenda as the national development agenda. This why the sustainable goals are now Pakistan developments goals.
He also informed that Ministry had developed the National Sanitation Policy in 2006 and National Drinking policy in 2009 after the floods of 2010 these policies provided necessarily guidance to government agencies and development partners in preparation of plans in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH Sector).Both these policies are now being reviewed in the light of initiatives of planning ministry to align all policies with SDGs. At the national level, SDGs monitoring and coordination unit has been established to plan supervise and monitor implementation. Special focus has been placed on goal 6, which is “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. The Ministry of Climate Change is providing technical support to provincial governments, departments for localizing the provisional targets.
He further added that ongoing census in Pakistan has two specific and detailed questions on water and sanitation .In addition to estimated baseline data relating to SDG 6,we will have soon accurate and up to census date on water and sanitation facilities for each Pakistani.
He also said that we plan to establish a WASH cell at Ministry of Climate Change for coordination of all key stakeholders. Pakistan is the host of next South East Conference on Sanitation in 2018.The unit will also play a key role in organizing this important regional conference in Pakistan. The Ministry of Climate Change has also developed the Pakistan approach to total sanitation, which seeks to establish and sustain and open defection free environment both in rural and urban areas through behavior change and social mobilization.
Federal Minister for Education Baligh-ur-Rehman also addressed the participants and said improved sanitation and water cannot be achieved without educating masses. He compared the statistics of education sector of 2012-2013 with 2015-2016.He said 64 % of government schools had toilets and now it has 8% increased. He also informed that water and sanitation can be improved through awareness and habit development training and we have started inter provincial conference after 18th amendment.
Mr. Javed Jabbar Ex. Minister we dispose sewerage into Lakes Rivers, sea that is now impacting everyone adversely. There should be respectful way of using water in agriculture, drinking and household consumption. It is also issue of policy priorities by the government. The structure of control at grass root level is weak in terms of local government
Ms. Angela Kearney from UNICEF addressed the participants and said that government of Pakistan efforts isdoing great to achieve water and sanitation targets in Pakistan.
Mr. Sami Farhan World Bank coordinator in Pakistan mentioned that governments allocate huge budgets for health and education but very less for sanitation.
This conference is organized by the Ministry of Climate change with the help of its partners, USAID,UNICEF,WHO,UN-Habitat, NRSP, Plan International, Oxfam, RSPN,Muslim Aid, WSSCC,ACF,COMSATS etc.This two-day conference will continue on 6th April, 2016. A large number of participant’s government officials, academia, media, and international development partners were present in the conference.