Allocation for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) under ADP in the national budget for FY22-23 is inadequate to address the emerging challenges of marginalized communities in the remote areas, experts said.
They expressed their concern that it will also slow down the country’s efforts to achieve SDG targets by 2030.
The experts made the remarks at a press conference at the National Press Club on Tuesday jointly organised by WaterAid along with Power and Participation Research Centre (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. They said that the proposed budget shows an upward trend in allocation in haor and hilly areas. This spirit should be scaled up in char lands and coastal areas to ensure that no one is left behind.
However, speakers stressed the need for proper attention in selecting Annual Development Programme (ADP) projects and to reduce the WASH allocation gap across rural and hard-to-reach areas.
An analysis by the PPRC, in collaboration with WaterAid, found that the WASH ADP allocation increased by 5.44 per cent compared to an overall ADP increase of 7.5 per cent. The total WASH budget is Tk 118.2 billion out of Tk 2,460.66 billion ADP allocation in the proposed budget.
The experts recommended bringing more consistency to the spatial allocation of WASH. The decline in FSM allocation will hinder the aim to increase sanitation coverage across the country.
They suggested reviewing the proposed budget, examining the issues more closely and ensuring increased FSM allocation to address the emerging WASH challenges.
A slight increase in allocation for hygiene seen can be 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, they opined.
Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman, eminent economist and Executive Chairman, PPRC; Hossain Ishrath Adib, Acting Country Director, WaterAid; and representatives from WASH networks spoke on the occasion among others.