Around 1.7 billion people in Asia and the Pacific still have no access to safe sanitation, 780 million people still practice open defecation, and around 80% of wastewater is discharged without treatment, resulting in pollution and exposure to diarrheal diseases, the second leading cause of infant and child deaths worldwide.
Sanitation problems are becoming increasingly acute in urban areas, with tens of millions of people moving into Asian cities every year. Many end up living in slums with little or no sanitation facilities. The region needs investments estimated at $71 billion to deliver improved sanitation to all its citizens.
ADB, its developing member countries (DMCs), and partners have been increasing efforts in meeting the MDG target of halving the number of people without sustainable access to basic sanitation. ADB has been undertaking a number of activities to increase awareness, share knowledge, and ramp up investments in both household and environmental sanitation as part of ADB's implementation of its Water Financing Program, Water Operational Plan, and Strategy 2020. The new Sanitation Financing Partnership Trust Fund, with a $15 million investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will leverage more than $28 million in investments from ADB by 2017 to expand non-sewered sanitation and septage management solutions across Asia.
For the 3rd Asian Sanitation Dialogue, the conference will emphasize a comprehensive approach to sanitation, and focus more on packaging on-site sanitation, wastewater and septage management projects as viable business opportunities. There will be discussions on solution options -- addressing the policy and capacity gaps; adoption of appropriate technologies; dealing with the financing, viability and affordability issues; promoting performance-based contracts and output-based incentives; and demonstrating health, socioeconomic and environmental benefits. Moreover, there will be sessions on green cities, solid waste management, and other cross-cutting issues to show holistic planning, bold strategies, and innovative approaches in achieving environmental sustainability. The conference will involve a highly interactive style with a certain degree of pre-conference preparation by participants.
The sanitation dialogue aims to:
- raise awareness and capacity of targeted DMCs on how to make sustainable sanitation happen through discussion of successful projects involving creation of an enabling policy environment, and choice of technologies and financing mechanisms;
- enhance the preparedness of targeted DMCs to conceive, plan, and execute sanitation strategies and projects that increase access by their population to adequate sanitation, and more effective wastewater and septage management systems;
- introduce options for: integrated and holistic planning on wastewater, solid waste, stormwater, and flood management; reuse and recovery of resources from waste; and green cities development; and
- provide a venue for knowledge sharing on good practices and innovative solutions, networking and partnerships among the governments, private sector, NGOs, academe and communities to ensure affordable, technically and environmentally sound, financially viable, and sustainable service delivery.
A field visit to wastewater and septage treatment facilities, and a controlled dumpsite with waste-to-energy facility will be organized to demonstrate working models, and share knowledge on planning, costs, technologies, operation and maintenance, government support, regulatory framework, consumer relations and stakeholder involvement.
Poster gallery and exhibition
Development partners, cities, utilities and NGOs will be invited to a "Solutions and Innovation Poster Gallery and Exhibition" to share knowledge products, and showcase successful projects and models that can be applied, replicated or scaled up in the region.
- At least nine countries participate, and share their current sanitation status, plans, investment programs and projects.
- At least five countries develop a set of possible follow-up actions that reflect an intention to achieve greater investment and coverage for sanitation and address sanitation-related pollution and health issues in their country more effectively.
Sanitation experts and practitioners working in government, the private sector, academe, nongovernment organizations, and donor agencies will be invited.
The event is being organized by ADB and partners in sanitation.