Sanitation success declines open defecation into 1pc

Speakers at an international sanitation conference in the capital on Saturday commended Bangladesh on its remarkable success in reducing open defecation and improving access to sanitation, while emphasising on the need to prepare for future challenges. The inaugural session of the conference, entitled Journey To Zero, took place today (03 Oct 2015) at Hotel Lakeshore in Gulshan, and was attended by representative of the Government of Bangladesh, civil society and academia.

Mr. Abdul Malek, Secretary, Local Government Division, Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives, spoke of rates of open defecation falling from 34% in 1990 to J2Z-21% today. Alluding to this as a joint success, the secretary applauded the role of the government, civil society, and the united efforts of the people of the nation in almost eliminating open defecation.

A presentation on the end of open defecation in Bangladesh by researchers Ms. Suzanne Hanchett and Mr. Shafiul Azam Ahmed, also cited the role of social mobilisation and the

Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) movement as being key to this achievement.

Other guests at the event included Mr. Edouard Beigbeder, Country Representative of UNICEF, Mr. Delwar Hossain, Chief Engineer, Department of Public Health and Engineering, and Engineer Md. Wali Ullah, Member Secretary, Sanitation Secretariat and Additional Chief Engineer, DPHE. The speakers welcomed this conference as an opportunity for practitioners and policymakers to reflect on past lessons and understand future challenges. In particular, issues such as faecal sludge management, poor hygiene behaviour and the impact of climate change were discussed as pressing concerns that would be discussed in the conference.

The conference will continue till 4th October (Sunday), with a total of 8 technical sessions and 22 papers presented by national and international scholars on a broad range of topics to do with second generation challenges of sanitation.