‘Sri Lanka hopeful of achieving SDGs’

Sri Lanka is in a position to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), City Planning and Water Supply Minister Rauff Hakeem said at the opening ceremony of the 10th Inter-Country Working Group (ICWG) Meeting of the South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN).

Speaking at the OZO Hotel on Monday, Hakeem said his ministry is responsible for two SDGs: sustainable cities and sustainable water and sanitation. These two goals go hand in hand, he said. The minister said the approval of a National Sanitation Policy he presented to the cabinet aimed at raising the standards of basic sanitation services.

“An important aspect is to introduce septic management systems for urban centres to avoid environmental issues due to poor sanitation,” he said. Minister Hakeem said there are Cabinet proposals to improve urban environments and densely populated areas by providing pipe sewage. Another theme Hakeem touched on is the idea that no one is left behind in what he called the “march towards achieving inclusive sanitation”.

“The format of the conference is well designed to recognise the importance of people with disabilities, adolescent girls, transgender leaders, sanitation workers, housewives, and students, who are often affected due to poor sanitation.”

He said the ministry had made efforts to engage hard-to-reach communities, such as Sri Lanka’s indigenous community, to increase their standards of sanitation.

“We will continue the effort until every child, woman, and man in South Asia—which is home to one fifth of humanity—irrespective of wealth, caste, status, physical or mental ability, has a means to practise safe hygiene and use clean, sustainable sanitation.”

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