Jakarta (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - The Indonesian government will host the 3rd East Asia Ministerial Conference on Sanitation and Hygiene (EASAN-3) themed "Sanitation for All: Towards 2015 and Beyond", aiming to increase commitments among countries in the region to speed up global access to proper sanitation and hygiene.
The Health Ministry's chief of environmental health directorate, Wilfred Hasiholan Purba, said on Friday that during the conference, participant countries would develop and promote innovative and effective policies, programs and partnerships to speed up progress on sanitation and hygiene development toward achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) targets in 2015.
"We also aim to increase both commitment and coordination among countries in the region in working on the EASAN process as a technical cooperation mechanism in the regional level," he said at a press briefing.
Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi and National Development Planning Minister Armida Alisjahbana plan to attend the EASAN-3, which will take place in Nusa Dua, Bali, on Sept.10 to 12.
During the conference, countries will also monitor progress in implementing hygiene and sanitation development commitments agreed upon in the EASAN-2 held in January 2011 in Manila, the Philippines, and adopted in the Manila Declaration.
Representatives from 13 East Asia countries, namely Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Mongolia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Timor Leste and Vietnam will attend the conference, as well as observers from Papua New Guinea.
"On sanitation, we are facing huge disparities among East Asian countries. In some countries, 95 percent of the people have access to sanitation. But in other countries, less than 30 percent of the people can access proper basic sanitation," said Wilfred, adding that households in urban areas had better access to sanitation compared to people in rural areas.
More than 671 million people in East Asia lack proper sanitation facilities. More than 100 million people still defecate in the open, posing a high risk of health problems.
More than 450 million diarrhea cases occur every year. Meanwhile, the number of deaths related to sanitation and water-borne diseases continues to increase by 150,000 per year.