Sri Lanka having achieved Millennium Development Goals in water and sanitation is in a better position to achieve SDGs before 2030 and the country has made good strides in reaching those without access to sanitation services over the past 5 decades and achieved over 87% of the population with access to improved sanitation, and 89% of the population have access to improved water supply. Currently, over 50% of Sri Lanka’s population is connected with pipe water supply, the State Minister of Water Supply Facilities VasudevaNanayakka said.
Addressing the regional Workshop of Rapid Action Learning on Water and Sanitation held under the theme of “Leaving No One Behind” held in Negombo recently, the Minister said that Sri Lanka has a strong institutional base to support urban water supply and sewerage sector and a dedicated department to ensure sustainability of rural water sanitation and managed by community based organizations.
“Deliberations of this nature are great opportunities for the South Asian regional countries to gain knowledge on their best practices in the field of sanitation and water and overcome challenges towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals and targets in water and sanitation before 2030”.
The workshop seek
s to share learning through practical initiatives in South Asian countries to share experiences and make a significant progress in water and sanitation including free and fair access to everyone. The programme is considered as the second step in fostering knowledge sharing the connectivity among the regional government officials and professionals and is a complementary process of translating the responsibilities of the South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN) in to action.
According to UNICEF, despite substantial progress made in water and sanitation sector in the South Asian region, much remains to be done. The majority of the world’s open defecators (more than 600 million) live in South Asia. Millions have limited access to safe water services and practice poor hygiene behaviours, which are the leading causes of child mortality and morbidity. These further contribute to undernutrition and stunting and act as barriers to quality education for girls and boys in the region.