Bhaktapur declared first ODF district in Kathmandu Valley

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President Ram Baran Yadav declared Bhaktapur as the Open Defecation Free (ODF) district in Kathmandu Valley and the 10th in the country during the public opening of the Fifth South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN-V) held in Kathmandu from October 21-25, 2013. Bhaktapur district, which includes 16 Village Development Committees (VDCs) and two municipalities, has also become the first district supported by GSF Programme in Nepal to be declared as ODF. Bhaktapur district has a total of 16 VDCs and 2 municipalities. Hailing the success as a positive step towards attaining the universal access to water and sanitation service by 2017, President Yadav said the ODF declaration of Bhaktapur is an important emblem for the urban areas in Nepal. Around 400 delegates and WASH activists, including ministers from Nepal, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and the Maldives participated in the conference. Before the conference a team from India and Pakistan also visited GSF programme areas in Sindhupalchowk and an interaction programme was organized on 21 October in Bhaktapur to share the learning from the GSF programme in the region. Within South Asia, GSF is currently being implemented in India and Nepal, and is in the process of being expanded to Bangladesh and Pakistan. During the closing session of the SACOSAN, Interim Election Council Chairman Khil Raj Regmi said “all the countries from the region should make sincere effort for the strict implementation of the commitments made from the conference. The conference ended with a Kathmandu Declaration, in which the Heads of the delegation from all Eight SAARC countries unanimously agreed and committed to an open defecation free South Asia by 2023 and to progressively move towards sustainable environmental sanitation. The SACOSAN has also agreed to recognize the importance of sustainable environmental sanitation and hygiene, including solid and liquid waste and faecal sludge management, in urban areas