Sustainable and equitable Financing of sanitation services
We are at a turning point when the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) period ends and the
Sustainable Development (SD) Framework starts. The focus of the sanitation MDG target was on halving the proportion of people living without sustainable access to basic sanitation through separating human contact from faeces. The SD framework has linked sanitation with health, education and poverty. It states that no Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets will be met unless no groups or communities are left out. It has set targets for universal water and sanitation for all by 2030. SAARC Countries can be considered from two perspectives—some,
such as India are able to mobilise substantial domestic resources for development, while others such as Nepal and Bhutan remain significantly dependent on external resources. In the case of India, the problem is hence not necessarily the volume of financial resource allocated but rather the problem of delivery mechanisms, monitoring and accountability. While in the case of Nepal the problem lies both around resource sufficiency and reaching the unreached. Furthermore, both countries (India and Nepal) are narrowly focused on the First Generation of Sanitation, i.e. eliminating Open Defecation (OD). The time has come to think beyond OD. This is true for all SAARC Countries. The overall objective of this paper is to vision sanitation financing from the perspectives of the SDGs and the SDG Framework—i.e. reaching universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) by 2030.The specific objectives are: to analyse regional/within country disparities on WASH financing; to explore sustainable financing strategies in order to meet universal access of sanitation by 2030. The paper summarises the key issues related to financing sanitation, and to propose sustainable financial strategies for achieving a long-term shift in sanitation coverage. It also suggests governance measures required for ensuring coordinated financial flows, appropriate use of limited public resources and well-targeted resources to achieve equity.