NAM Member States focus on sanitation

One of the major targets in Goal 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals is to achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations by 2030. Non-Aligned Movement has recognised the need to improve access to adequate sanitation worldwide.

NAM has welcomed the designation of November 19 as World Toilet Day. The UN has also acknowledged that events organized on 19 November in many Member States in the context of World Toilet Day have contributed to a better awareness and concerted actions on different aspects of the critical issue of sanitation for all, and acknowledged in this regard the critical role of civil society organizations in such countries working for sanitation goals.

A number of NAM Member States have undertaken measures and programs to ensure access to sanitation for all. A prominent example of such a measure is the Swachh Bharat Mission in India. To accelerate the efforts to achieve universal sanitation coverage and to put focus on sanitation, the Prime Minister of India Mr Narendra Modi launched the Swachh Bharat Mission on 2nd October, 2014.

The aim of Swachh Bharat Mission is to achieve a clean and Open Defecation Free (ODF) India by 2nd October, 2019. The major objectives of the program are to bring about an improvement in the general quality of life in the rural areas, by promoting cleanliness, hygiene and eliminating open defecation; to accelerate sanitation coverage in rural areas to achieve the vision of Swachh Bharat by 2nd October 2019; to motivate communities to adopt sustainable sanitation practices and facilities through awareness creation and health education; to encourage cost effective and appropriate technologies for ecologically safe and sustainable sanitation to develop, wherever required, community managed sanitation systems focusing on scientific Solid & Liquid Waste Management systems for overall cleanliness in the rural areas and to create significant positive impact on gender and promote social inclusion by improving sanitation especially in marginalized communities. The Swachh Bharat Program has been a major success.

In rural India, the number of households without toilets has come down to 32.5 per cent (from 69 per cent). That is, toilet coverage has more than doubled in rural India since 2011. For urban areas that number is 14.5 per cent (down from 18 per cent). Over nine in 10 (91.29 per cent) rural households having access to a toilet are using it and it is similar for urban areas. Out of 73 cities that participated in Swachh Survekshan 2016, 54 cities improved their score in overall municipal solid waste management in 2017.

In Bangladesh, programs and World Bank supported programs such as Bangladesh Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project and The Chittagong Water Supply Improvement and Sanitation Project have been a success story. Bangladesh has made significant progress in reducing open defecation, from 34 percent in 1990 to just one percent of the national population in 2015.

NAM has welcomed United Nations General Assembly resolution 67/291 entitled “Sanitation for All” in July 2013. The Resolution urges Member States, the organizations of the United Nations system and all other relevant stakeholders to encourage behavioural change, together with policies for increasing access to sanitation among the poor, complemented by a call to end open defecation as a practice that is extremely harmful to public health.

The Resolution also calls upon all Member States, as well as the organizations of the United Nations system and international organizations and other stakeholders, to approach the sanitation issue in a much broader context and to encompass all its aspects, including hygiene promotion, the provision of basic sanitation services, sewerage and wastewater treatment and reuse in the context of integrated water management.

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