Planning minister MA Mannan on Thursday said the government would ensure safe water, hygiene and sanitation for all the countrymen to achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs) by 2030.
“We have already electrified all the villages. Now safe water, sanitation and hygiene for all must be ensured to achieve the SDGs by 2030,” the Minister said at a webinar.
The webinar was jointly organized by Development Journalist Forum of Bangladesh (DJFB) and Development Organisation of the Rural Poor-DORP, ahead of the Asia and the Pacific Finance Ministers’ Meeting (FMM) on 2 December.
The objective of the FMM is to develop and strengthen partnerships with finance ministers in the region for smart investments in water, sanitation and hygiene.
Mannan said the developing countries project themselves as developed nations by ensuring electricity and safe water for all. Bangladesh can demand itself as a developed nation after ensuring the same.
“The government has enough funds to ensure these basic needs. But now we need target- based work to achieve our SDGs. We have to supervise the government’s expenditure properly. The issue of safe water will be the main subject here,” the minister added.
Mannan hoped the finance minister will allocate required funds for ensuring safe water in the next budget. “Sri Lanka has already ensured 50% pipe water for villages. They would ensure 100% availability by 2030. We already have undertaken many projects. All ministries must work cordially," he added.
The minister also said the villagers of the country will get all facilities like city residents in future. “We are leaving no stone unturned for the same."
Mentioning the government’s latest data, Dr Shamsul Alam, member of General Economics Division at Bangladesh Planning Commission said 48% people in Bangladesh get ‘safe water’.
“It’s not possible to achieve SDGs by 2030 without ensuring water, sanitation and hygiene for all. Billions of people don’t get safe water in the world yet. Around 70 crore people still resort to open defecation and 60% are deprived of hand washing facilities in the globe. So the activities should be doubled to achieve the SDG-6 index by 2030," he said.
The Senior Secretary also said the review work of the Eighth Five-Year Plan is at the last stage. “Medical care is one of the basic rights of citizens, as per the Constitution. The health issue depends on water, sanitation and hygiene. Funds are significant to ensure it. But the NGOs should also come forward."
On his part, research director of DORP, Mohammad Zobair Hasan, underscored the need for increasing budget allocation in water, sanitation and hygiene.
Joint secretary of LGRD, Emdadul Haque Chowdhury, WASH specialist of UNICEF Mohammad Monirul Alam, grand manager of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK) Abdus Salam Mia, BBS director Alamgir Hossain, Ranjan Ghosh from WaterAid Bangladesh and DJFB president FHM Humayun Kabir, were among others, who spoke at the webinar.
The World Bank (WB) has recently approved USD 200 million to help Bangladesh improve access to safe water and sanitation services in rural areas.
The Bangladesh Rural Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Human Capital Development Project will help about 600,000 people avail safe and clean water through large and small piped water schemes in rural areas, said WB. It will also provide access to improved sanitation services to over 3.6 million rural people.