PRI holds policy dialogue to collect comments and suggestions on the National Policy on Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (2078)

January 7, 2022

Date:     January 7, 2022

Venue:   Policy Research Institute, Sano Gaucharan, Kathmandu


The main objective of the policy dialogue was to collect stakeholder comments and suggestions on the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Policy (2078) drafted by the Government of Nepal (GoN) and recommend to the GoN what improvements should be made, if any, to ensure an enhanced access to basic water and sanitation of the people of Nepal

Basically, the dialogue centered around the following three questions.

  1. What are the gaps on existing WASH policies that need an urgent attention?
  2. What should be done to integrate urban, rural and national water supply and sanitation policies?
  3. What are the hurdles and bottlenecks that you have faced in implementing WASH programs?

Opening and Moderation

Research Fellow at the PRI Center for Economic and Infrastructure Development Dr. Rajendra Khanal initiated the event with a brief presentation on the background to the dialogue, its objectives and the discussion questions the dialogue would engage.

Dr. Bishnu Raj Upreti, the Executive Chairperson of PRI, welcomed the participants to the dialogue and made a brief presentation on the scope of the work of PRI and the procedures it has developed for policy review. Introducing the PRI policy review guidelines in progress now, Dr Upreti underlined that the general format for policy review includes, internal review by PRI researchers, peer-review and feedback by experts through a policy dialogue, such as the meeting. All the suggestions and feedback received, Chairperson Upreti added, would be synthesized and forwarded to the government, together with the list of comments as an annex.

Ms Meena Shrestha, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Water Supply and the lead coordinator for WASH policy formulation, discussed why a new WASH policy is necessary to achieve 100 per cent water and sanitation services in Nepal. Mr Yogendra Chitrakar, Senior Divisional Engineer, presented the outline of the draft WASH policy, not least the strategies adopted to deliver it.

Comments from Participants

Dr Ranjit Ojha from the Department of Water Supply and Sewerage Management shared the brief history of WASH policies in Nepal underlining the necessity of community participation and funding for infrastructure development on WASH. He also stressed the importance of effective planning, monitoring and evaluation to ensure the effective delivery of the policy as well as the need to align rural and urban WASH policies

Dr Sudan Raj Panthi from the WHO Nepal stressed that discussions should be held with other stakeholders, such as urban planners and health officials, before finalizing the WASH policy. The development of a climate-resilient water safety plan is necessary, he said, adding that the delivery of the sanitation policies should be monitored using the tool being developed by the WHO.

Dr Sudha Shrestha from UN-HABITAT, Nepal advised against a blanket policy and suggested instead that local levels should be empowered to develop their own policies under the guidance of the federal government. She also suggested institutional capacity strengthening of organizations involved in WASH. Prof Dr Bishnu Pandey from the Institute of Engineering, Tribhuvan University (TU), mentioned that the gap and strength of existing policies should be analyzed and a way forward should be developed with timebound targets, indicators, responsibility and action plans. He also insisted on the need of regular awareness and dialogue mechanisms.

Madan Bahadur Thapa from Purnajagaran Samaj, Nepal stressed the need of the creation of a policy implementation fund, project banking for WASH and data strengthening. Ananda Gautam from WaterAid underlined the need to strengthen coordination amongst local, federal and state governments keeping hygiene in the list of priority.

Rajendra Aryal from the Federation of Drinking Water and Sanitation Users Nepal (FEDWASUN) suggested analysing policy gaps and framing recommendations addressing those gaps. Prof Dr Prakash Ghimire from the Central Department of Microbiology, TU, insisted that the policy should have an in-built mechanism to ensure ownership and quality of data of WASH programs. To this end, he added, data monitoring should be an integral part of the implementation.

Bhagwati Sedain from Padma Kanya Campus, TU, stressed the development of water safety plan and infrastructure as well as the documentation of water-related death. Drona Koirala from the Centre for Integrated Urban Development (CIUD) added while developing infrastructure, such as schools or public parks, sanitation should be prioritized. Hum Bhandary from the NGO Federation suggested broad consultations with all stakeholders in advance, and stressed the development of an implementation strategy, including the framework for sustainability of WASH project and quality assurance of WASH services, at the local level.

Anil Bhadra Khanal from the Society of Public Health Engineers, Nepal (SOPHEN) added that WASH policies should be in line with Nepal’s commitment to relevant international treaties and agreements, and contain a mandatory land allocation provision for water and waste – solid and liquid – management.

Umesh Pandey from the Nepal Water for Health (NEWAH) stressed the importance of proper coordination of local, provincial and federal governments, SWOT analysis of existing policies and short-and long-term goals to be achieved. Krishna GC from the SNV Nepal added a mechanism should be created to ensure policy ownership at the local level by involving all stakeholders right at the policy drafting process. He also suggested promoting a public private partnership mechanism for WASH programme implementation.

Summary and Conclusion

Key takeaways from the policy dialogue are the following.

  1. Community participation is necessary for effective implementation of WASH policy
  2. The policy should have an in-built provision for infrastructure development and capacity building
  3. Inter- and intra-government coordination should be integral part of the governance of the policy
  4. Without the mechanism for surveillance, monitoring and assurance of data quality, the delivery cannot be effective
  5. WASH policy should be climate-resilient and inclusive
  6. How to conserve water resources and maintain quality hygiene should be the focus of the policy

PRI Executive Chairperson Dr. Upreti thanked all the participants for their time, feedback and suggestion. He assured them that the ideas suggested will be included in PRI’s recommendation to the GoN.

1Anil Bhadra KhanalSociety of Public Health Engineers, Nepal 
2Umesh PandeyNepal Water for Health
3Prakash GhimireCentral Department of Microbiology, TU
4Kapil JoshiFederation of Drinking Water and Sanitation Users Nepal
5Yash Man KarmacharyaCentre for Integrated Urban Development 
6Drona Prasad KoiralaCentre for Integrated Urban Development
7Vishnu Prasad PandeyInstitute of Engineering, TU
8Sherya BajimayaNepal Development Research Institute
9Madan Bahadur ThapaPurnajagaran Samaj, Nepal
10Ananda GautamWaterAid Nepal
11Meena ShresthaJoint Secretary, Ministry of Water Supply
12Sudha ShresthaUnited Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT
13Krishna Hari GCSNV-Nepal
14Bhola ShivakotiECARDS Nepal
15Sudan Raj PanthiWorld Health Organisation, Nepal
16Rajendra AryalFederation of Drinking Water and Sanitation Users Nepal
17Ranjit OjhaDepartment of Water Supply and Sewerage Management
18Yogendra ChitrakarMinistry of Water Supply
19Bhagwati SedainPadma Kanya Campus
20Hum BhandariNGO Federation Nepal
PRI Staff