What is Sacosan?

SACOSAN is a biennial South Asian advocacy and practice forum on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), co-led by the governments of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

This regional event provides a forum to generate political will towards better sanitation in the region, with the following objectives:

  • To accelerate the progress in sanitation and hygiene promotion in South Asia; 

  • To reiterate political commitment in each country of the region for furthering the sanitation agenda; 

  • To share experiences and lessons learnt in sanitation and hygiene promotion (more information on SACOSAN-VII can be accessed via the official SACOSAN website).

Every two years key government officials from SAARC countries meet together, alongside development partners, WASH networks, think tanks, and civil society members, to evaluate progress made on WASH-related targets. The latest thinking on effective approaches is shared and discussed to support countries in their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) journey.

At the end of each conference, nationally endorsed commitments on sanitation are agreed upon and signed up to by each country representative.

SACOSAN VII & SDG 6 review

SACOSAN VII, hosted in Islamabad, Pakistan in April 2018, provided an opportunity to reflect upon the existing sanitation issues in the South Asia region, in light of the SDGs. Sharing experiences, challenges and lessons at the regional level on sanitation and hygiene in a multi-stakeholder forum helps to accelerate the national ambition for SDGs. The event also helped prepare countries for the July 2018 High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development, where SDG6 (to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all) will be reviewed.

WaterAid contributed to the discussion on sanitation in the region, focusing on the following themes:

  • Leave No One Behind: Inequalities in WASH
    In a plenary session, WaterAid, FANSA and WSSCC supported members of the most marginalised communities in relating their experiences to date on access to sanitation, and share research on transgender-inclusive sanitation.

    WaterAid also hosted a photography exhibition featuring images taken by adolescents in Nepal and Pakistan as part of a participatory photography project. The images document the impact of climate change on their communities, and girls' experiences of managing their menstruation in Pakistan. 

    Ayesha from WaterAid Pakistan during a participatory photography workshop in Sindh, Pakistan.
    WaterAid/Sibtain Haider
  • Safely managed sanitation and faecal sludge management (FSM).
    WaterAid hosted a side event to highlight the crucial role of faecal sludge management in achieving safely managed sanitation services in South Asia. We facilitated knowledge exchange amongst South Asian countries on experiences of FSM, with the aim of setting an emerging common agenda.

  • Menstrual hygiene management (MHM) in schools. 
    In collaboration with the national MHM working group in Pakistan, WaterAid convened a side event on progress, gaps and realities on mainstreaming MHM in South Asia. Key findings from the Menstrual Hygiene Management in Schools South Asia situation analysis (UNICEF/WaterAid) was shared, and the group discussed and recommended how targeted measures can improve girls and women’s issues around MHM in school settings.

  • Financing for sustainable sanitation services.
    Quality and quantity of financing is a key for achieving equitable universal access to sanitation and hygiene and address sustainability challenges. The Government of Sri Lanka led a technical session on Financing of Sanitation with support from WaterAid. Technical papers from various countries were shared so as to build common knowledge on challenges and solutions for Financing of Sanitation. Read the briefing note (pdf) >


WaterAid were thrilled to be part of SACOSAN proceedings and contribute to achieving Everyone, Everywhere by 2030. Follow updates from the event using #SACOSAN7 @sacosanofficial