However, only 11 percent of people have access to safe drinking water.
Meanwhile, currently, around 80 percent of the population has proper sanitation access, but new safe sanitation is only available to 7 percent of Indonesians.
This is despite the fact that according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), the provision of safe drinking water and sanitation determine the quality of people’s life.
Currently, around two million people in the world do not have proper access to safe drinking water and more than three million people do not have access to safe sanitation.
This is unfortunate given that the two basic needs can reduce the disease index by 0.39 percent. Without safe sanitation and water, children become vulnerable to stunting, Indonesian Vice President Ma’ruf Amin said during the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) 2022 Sector Ministers Meeting (SMM)
Safe sanitation and drinking water have also become important requirements for ensuring the transition to a green and eco-friendly economy so that the people’s prosperity and life quality can continue to improve, the Vice President added.
Moreover, the UN General Assembly in 2010 acknowledged access to safe sanitation and drinking water as a basic human right, he highlighted.
To this end, “Ensure Availability and Sustainable Management of Water and Sanitation for All” is one of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) that must be achieved by 2030, Amin emphasized.
Hence, every country must make a clear work plan with measured indicators and implement it through a holistic and integrated approach, he opined.
He called for the creation of a global partnership for realizing access to sanitation and safe drinking water, which are currently only available to a section of the global population.
“We have to continue to bolster global partnerships in handling this multidimensional problem,” he remarked.
At the Sector Ministers Meeting, the vice president conveyed three points. First, he invited all parties to strengthen their joint commitment to increasing public access to sanitation and safe drinking water globally.
According to Amin, strong commitment from political leaders will encourage the mobilization of the necessary resources.
Second, the Vice President invited all parties to use the forum as a place to learn from each other and exchange information about the best practices in their country or region so that they can be emulated by others.
Third, he invited all parties to use the forum to develop networks and collaborations because a government’s success is also determined by the involvement of the business world, philanthropic organizations, professional organizations, academics, media, and non-governmental organizations.
Meanwhile, Public Works and Public Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono said that Indonesia has continued to encourage the acceleration and expansion of access to clean water and safe sanitation through various programs.
Expanding access to clean water and safe sanitation are key to reducing poverty, he added.
“Indonesia has made good progress in accelerating efforts to improve access to water, sanitation, and hygiene,” he noted.
He emphasized that Indonesia is pushing to strengthen political commitment to expedite the realization of the goal of safe drinking water and sanitation to support efforts to reduce stunting and extreme poverty, especially in rural areas.
Moreover, the Indonesian government is committed to reducing extreme poverty to zero percent by 2024 from 4 percent in 2021, he highlighted.
“The strategy to achieve this is through a cross-sectoral development approach in several priority areas. In 2021, poverty alleviation programs had been implemented in 35 priority districts,” he said.
The programs were related to water, sanitation, and housing and focused on large areas and strengthening community capacity, he informed.
Meanwhile, UNICEF Representative Robert Gass said that safe sanitation is life-changing for children and puts them on the path to reaching their full potential.
However, far too many children are living in communities impacted by unsafe sanitation, which is endangering every aspect of their development, he added in a statement.
Although Indonesia has made significant progress in improving basic sanitation, less than 8 percent of households have a toilet connected to a sealed septic tank and received desludging services at least once in the past five years.
This has led to the poor management of fecal matter, causing it to seep into surrounding environments and nearby water sources.
Low community awareness of the public health risks of inadequate management of septic tanks as well as insufficient household demand for desludging services are among the main challenges to increasing access to safe sanitation, with many families not understanding the need to connect toilets to a piped sewerage system or sealed septic tanks that are periodically emptied.
The government of Indonesia is currently developing a national road map to accelerate access to safely managed sanitation, with support from UNICEF and other partners.
Later this year, a high-level Sanitation and Water for All conference will take place in Jakarta in May, when ministers responsible for water, sanitation, health, environment, and the economy from across the world will come together to discuss accelerating access to water, sanitation, and hygiene.
“The pandemic has brought greater attention to the importance of living in a clean environment,” said Gass.
Poorly managed sanitation can weaken children’s immune systems and cause irreversible harm, or even death. Through this initiative, it is hoped that more communities across the country will take a greater role in managing their household sanitation to improve the health and well-being of children and their families, he said.