Punjab Government Unveils 10 Year Safe Drinking Water, Sanitation Plan for the Public.
Member Punjab Planning & Development Muhammad Hassan Iqbal has said that Punjab Government has intensified its efforts to provide its people with safe drinking water through various initiatives especially in rural and underserved areas. The Government aims to eliminate open defection in the next 3-4 years in addition to installation of wastewater treatment plants.
He disclosed this while addressing the dissemination ceremony of Punjab water, sanitation & hygiene (WASH) Sector Development Plan 2014-24 jointly organized by Unicef Punjab and Planning & Development Department held at P&D Complex, Lahore.
Hassan Iqbal Member(SI), P&D unveiled the government’s Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Sector Development Plan 2014-2024 that will achieve 100% piped water coverage and 82% sewerage and drainage in cities and towns, while 65% piped water coverage and 70% sewerage and drainage in rural areas during the next 10 years.
Addressing the participants, he emphasized that the Sector Plan would be fully implemented and every effort would be made to achieve the strategic goals and actions enunciated in the document. All initiatives in the province with the support of donors and sector partners shall be aligned with this plan, and a due emphasis will be laid to strengthen the coordination and performance management. He appreciated the technical and financial support of UNICEF in development of the Sector Plan through Avicenna Consulting (Pvt) Ltd.
Member Hassan Iqbal informed that the plan was developed through a consultative process with all stakeholders. The proposed strategic measures in the sector development plan are aligned with the Punjab Economic Growth Strategy 2014-2018, Vision 2025 Pakistan and the newly signed Sustainable Development Goals.
Senior Representative of UNICEF Douglas G Higgins, Punjab Chief UNICEF lauded the efforts of Punjab government for the socio-economic development of the province. Punjab was the first province to develop a WASH sector plan in line with Pakistan’s commitment made at the High Level Meeting 2014 in Washington. He also ensured that UNICEF already committed to provide technical support to the people of Punjab and their children especially. It was a wash credit that Punjab Government was trying its best to eliminate open defection across the Punjab completely in upcoming years.
Since the launch of the Millennium Development Goals in 1990 and their end in 2015, Pakistan made good progress in reaching a target of 93% population coverage with improved water and access to improved sanitation by 64% of the population. However, there is a long way to reach overall goal of improved sanitation. Further data reveals that sanitation is deeply rooted with poverty issues.
The plan recommends an integrated approach that involves Lady Health Workers, Health & Nutrition Supervisors and Schoolteachers in creating awareness, and engaging school children as change agents for improved family hygiene and water conservation.