South Asian experts address lack of access to water, sanitation at UN-backed forum
11 November 2008 – Over 100 experts are gathering at a United Nations-backed meeting kicking off today in Bangladesh to
address the problem of water in Asia, where half the people still have no access to adequate sanitation.
Despite significant strides made in recent years, almost one in five people in the region lack improved water sources,
despite the face that many technically feasible and low-cost solutions exist.
The 2nd International WASH (an acronym for water, sanitation and hygiene) Practitioners’ Marketplace and Fair, which is
being co-organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), is under way in the
Bangladeshi town of Cox’s Bazaar.
Participants – including local and central Government officials, donors, civil society groups, academics and the private
sector – will discuss, among other topics, integrated water resource management and community participation.
“More needs to be done to raise awareness among policymakers and disseminate knowledge about the most effective
practices from around the world, and this event will be a step in that direction,” said Yip Kioe Sheng, who heads
ESCAP’s Poverty Reduction Section.
The gathering is part of ESCAP’s Pro-poor Water and Sanitation in Small Towns project, which helps local governments
provide access to water and sanitation to the urban poor.