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WASH budget do not address challenge of marginalised people : Experts

Published : 28 Jun 2022 09:17 PM

At a press conference on Tuesday, speakers addressed the budgetary allocations under safely managed sanitation, environment and capacity-building show a surprising decline in the WASH allocation under ADP budget FY22-23 in the proposed National Budget. They raised concern this will slow down the country’s effort to achieving SDGs targets by 2030. 

They said the proposed budget of FY2022-23 finds an upward trend in allocation in haor and hilly regions. This spirit should be scaled up in coastal and char lands to ensure no one is left behind. However, speakers stressed proper attention in selecting Annual Development Programme projects and the need to reduce the WASH allocation gap across rural and hard-to-reach areas. They also  identified the current budget falls short in addressing emerging challenges in the remote areas of marginalized communities. The conference was jointly arranged by WaterAid along with, PPRC, FANSA-BD, FSM Network, Bangladesh Water Integrity Network (BaWin), Sanitation and Water for All, End Water Poverty, MHM Platform, UNICEF and WASH Alliance International at National Press Club, Shegunbagicha.

An analysis by the Power and Participation Research Center (PPRC), in collaboration with WaterAid, found that the WASH ADP allocation increased by 5.44% compared to an overall ADP increase of 7.5%. The total WASH Budget in ADP budget in the proposed budget is BDT118.2 billion of BDT 2460.66 billion of ADP allocation.  

Though there have been some positive steps to address spatial inequities, there is little consistency across the sector. Haor and hilly areas have received positive attention, but not chars and coastal areas. Meanwhile, intra-urban inequities persist. 

The speakers remommended  bringing more consistency to the spatial allocation of WASH ADP. The decline in FSM allocation will hinder the aim to increase sanitation coverage across the country meeting . A further suggestion was made to review the proposed budget and examine this issue more closely and ensure increased FSM allocation to address the emerging WASH challenges, said the speakers. 

There is a slightly increased allocation to hygiene seen as a positive step, but implementing it through the ministry of health alone will not portray the required results for the entire country.A multi-agency holistic policy approach should be adopted as a priority. 

Dr. Hossain Zillur Rahman, Eminent Economist, Executive Chairman, PPRC and Hossain Ishrath Adib, Acting Country Director of WaterAid, and representatives from WASH networks spoke at the programme among other WASH specialists, including journalists and development workers.