Monday October 25, 2021

Govt, civil society for swift action to achieve universal access to water

September 25, 2021

Sindh Minister for Local Government and Public Health Engineering Department Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said on Thursday the provincial government was aware of the gigantic nature of the target of achieving sustainable development goals and had therefore selected Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG-6) as one of its priorities.

He was addressing a stakeholder roundtable to take stock of Sindh’s current progress against the targets of SDG- 6, which aims to achieve universal access to clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene for everyone.

WaterAid Pakistan, in collaboration with the Public Health Engineering Department, organised a multi-stakeholders roundtable where government officials, civil society, community members and elected representatives had called for accelerated action, coordination and multi-sectoral efforts to achieve the targets of SDG-6 (universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene) in Sindh by 2030.

Shah said the Sindh government was seeking support from the international community, civil society and community stakeholders. He also mentioned that the government wanted to develop holistic policies and programmes, implementation of which required support from various stakeholders.

WaterAid Country Director Arif Jabbar Khan said that while Sindh had made some progress in achieving access to clean drinking water for more than 90 per cent of its population, it was far behind in providing safely managed and contamination free drinking water. Similarly, access to basic and safely managed sanitation is not encouraging. “With only nine years to the deadline for achieving all SDG-6 targets, the current pace of financing, resourcing and implementation requires to be multiplied significantly,” he said.

Pir Mujib ul Haq, an MPA and convener of the Sindh Assembly Taskforce on SDGs, Jam Shabir Ali Khan and Muhammad Hassan Khan emphasised the role of parliamentarians and said they would work together to strengthen legislation and oversight function of the members of the Sindh Assembly.

They said they were working with WaterAid Pakistan in conducting a review of all laws related to water and sanitation and to introduce comprehensive improvements in the legislative frameworks.

Other speakers highlighted the need for removing ambiguities and overlap in policy and legislative frameworks, introduction of a holistic coordination and an oversight body for WASH-related initiatives and robust and timely collection and dissemination of data.