Civil society consultations for the 12th Five Year Plan Approach Paper: Urban & Rural WATSAN sector

At the request of the Planning Commission, Arghyam and WaterAid agreed to co-ordinate and support a process of civil society consultation for inputs on rural and urban domestic water and sanitation for generating recommendations for the Approach Paper to the 12th Five Year Plan of the Government of India.

A glimpse of the audience

Consultations on Rural WATSAN

In the case of the rural consultations the consultations took the form of a series of 6 regional consultations culminating in a national consultation in New Delhi on 13th and 14th December 2010. A total of 300-odd people (primarily Civil Society Organisations, academia and GP representatives with a strong sector focus) from 26 states participated in these regional consultations.

State wise group sharing sessions

A local organisation in each region organised the consultation with WaterAid and Arghyam sharing the costs. The Water Community of UN-Solution Exchange provided documentation support for all the regional consultations as well as the national consultation. A wide range of participants was sought, covering organisations working on different thematic and geographical areas. The regional consultations were in the form of a 1.5 day workshop where participants were divided into groups focusing on particular thematic areas (water sources, water supply, sanitation, governance & beyond watsan) in rural water and sanitation. The thematic groups came up with a prioritised list of issues in their area, and identified solutions for those issues, and recommendations to the Commission that would be appropriate to take the solutions to a policy level. A list of thematic areas with some indicative issues was presented to the participants initially in order to provide a structure for the discussions.

Searching for WATSAN solutions

Broad issues were recurring in all the consultations but also with a specificity arising out of local factors: geography, socio-economics etc. It will be one of the challenges for the Commission to be able to identify and tackle the most urgent high-level issues, at the same time giving scope for local solutions that are appropriate for the local condition. The discussions threw up local solutions to the problems that were raised. Details can be found in the attached report.

Presenting the larger WATSAN picture 

National Consultation on Urban WATSAN

The national consultation on urban domestic water & sanitation, organised on December 15, 2010, brought together a diverse group of stakeholders. Unlike the rural water and sanitation space where such multi stakeholder consultations are common, similar initiatives in the urban water management space is few and limited. The 60-odd participants at the national consultation represented slum dwellers, community organisations, NGOs, right based groups and activists, researchers and academicians, engineers and municipal functionaries and government officials.

Mihir Shah (Planning Commission Member) along with Rohini Nilekani (Arghyam, Chairperson) and Lourdes Baptista (WaterAid India, CEO) at the National consultation in New Delhi

To facilitate detailed discussion, the meeting was organized around five themes – Urban Poor, Urban Infrastructure, Governance, Water Sources and Beyond Watsan. Each of the groups came up with a set of issues to be addressed and a set of recommendations for the 12th Five Year Plan approach paper.  This was presented in a plenary followed by a discussion. Based on these discussion recommendations from each of the thematic groups were finalised.

Please find the below attachments

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