Freshwater Action Network
– grassroots influencing on water and sanitation

Civil society calls echo throughout Ministerial declaration at SACOSAN IV

FAN South Asia and its coalition partners WaterAid, WSSCC and CEJ, welcomed the Colombo Declaration, the outcome of SACOSAN IV which took place in April and outlined ministerial commitments made in the SACOSAN-IV and reflected most of the coalition calls, demonstrating the value of the intensive work done up to and during SACOSAN-IV. Read more about their advocacy successes

We hope that the commitments of our Governments in South Asia will generate the required momentum for accelerated progress on sanitation and hygiene.

Murali Ramisetty, Regional Convenor for FANSA highlighted the importance of next steps:

"We are pleased to see that it reflects much of the declaration of the Pre-SACOSAN-IV consultation meeting of CSOs. However, good follow-up is essential to ensure that it gets translated into concrete change in people's lives." 

For our part, the Coalition partners committed to monitoring commitments and will begin by widely disseminating and informing the people, community leaders, local bodies and other stakeholders about the conference outcome.

For more than one year, many members of the above three Coalition partners have been heavily engaged in gathering real peoples’ thoughts, hopes and dreams, forming the basis for developing solid evidence-based material in the form of a Peoples’ Perceptions report on Sanitation and an accompanying film which gave voice to ordinary people from the region.  Both were shared at the CSO pre-meeting and the SACOSAN-IV.

"The Coalition partners came together to bring added strength and solidarity to the campaign to influence the SACOSAN process, particularly to recognize the needs of poor and marginalized people. Through a sustained spirit of collaboration, we have jointly contributed to tangible success," said Archana Patkar, WSSCC.

Three Sessions on Grassroots Voices were well spaced by the organizers of SACOSAN-IV that provided an excellent opportunity to share the problems and solutions from a diverse, well informed perspective.

The key commitments of SACOSAN-IV which reflect the ‘asks’ from the CSO statement were:

  • working towards progressive realization of the Right to Water and Sanitation and to eventually bring it into legislation (although the coalition had advocated for omitting the term ‘eventual’ as it weakens the governments’ commitments to move on this issue without delay);
  • time bound plans and allocation of resources to deliver on previous SACOSAN commitments;
  • delivering context specific equitable and inclusive sanitation and hygiene programmes; and
  • developing strong monitoring and accountability mechanisms and adoption of “participation, inclusion and social accountability” mechanisms at all stages of sanitation and hygiene programming, particularly for programmes concerning the marginalized and vulnerable sections of our societies.

Through wide-ranging consultations, a Traffic Lights Paper was developed which reflected CSO s’ assessment of progress on previous SACOSAN commitments. WaterAid and WSSCC, together with UNICEF, also prepared a Synthesis on Equity and Inclusion in Sanitation and Hygiene in South Asia, highlighting the current state of marginalization of many population groups but also pointing towards many positive examples and experiences. The two day Pre-SACOSAN-IV community leaders’ and CSOs’ meeting produced a one page declaration calling for urgent action of governments ( 

To download the Declaration of the Pre-SACOSAN-IV Consultation Meeting of CSOs, South Asian People’s Perspective on Sanitation executive summary, Traffic Lights discussion paper  as well as read news and updates as they were captured during the week, visit