The Sanitation Deficit Reflects a Deficit in Governance for the Poor

by James Tayler

Sheela Patel, chair of SDI board, at World Water Week in Stokholm

**For the full article, please visit The Global Herald**

By Sheela Patel, Chair of SDI Board 

Water and sanitation represent the most clear and obvious amenities that link cities citizens, their local government and national state. SDI Board Chair Sheela Patel sent the message at the World Water Week 2011 that the existing deficit in sanitation is obvious and clearly one of the unachieved Millenium Development Goals set out by the United Nations nearly twelve years ago. Dr. Patel went on to say that this deficit reflects the real deficit in governance, since for the poorest in the city, inclusion and concern about them gets reflected in whether they get access to these amenities. Below is an excerpt from her article, which originally appeared in The Global Herald.

“A secure place to live, and access to basic amenities, followed very closely by the right to undertake livelihoods are the crucial safety networks for the urban poor. Yet these have remained outside the purview of the increasing informal habitation seen in cities, and this exclusion has impacts and implications for an average of 25%, but often up to 60%, of the city residents. Accountability must be sought in national and local policies that continue to ignore the urgent need to address the terrible conditions in which the poor live in informal settlements…

Change has to come now, so that deficits can be addressed and growth in urbanization in the next decade does not have to see such terrible inequities in cities in the future. And this cannot happen unless the poor and their organizations and settlements are seen as partners addressing this challenge. Events like World Water Week have to have community leadership to bring their voices to such debates and it was telling that I, as a professional, was their lone representative among over 2500 people who registered.”

To read the full article, visit The Global Herald here.