UN-Habitat is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.
While residents are willing to pay for safe drinking water the same is not the case for sanitation and hygiene.
Karachi – 28th April, 2016: A new survey has revealed that Jacobabad residents are not willing to pay for sanitation and hygiene services despite being aware of associated health risks. On the contrary, residents are willing to pay for safe drinking water. Commissioned by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) with funding from USAID through United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the ‘Willingness to Pay for Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) services’ survey findings were launched at a ceremony in Karachi on 28 April 2016.
The study is part of a project that seeks to mobilize communities to improve Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) services in Jacobabad city. It is a collaborative effort between UN-Habitat, UNICEF, the Municipal Services Delivery Program (MSDP), Government of Sindh, and USAID. The survey sought to determine the factors that influence people’s willingness to pay for improved WASH services in Jacobabad. It aims to support the Government of Sindh in taking necessary steps to ensure the effective running of the Municipal Services Development Programme (MSDP) by taking public’s opinion into account in devising necessary actions.
The survey recommends that the base tariff for water charges should not be kept higher than PKR 500, while overall charges should be divided into three specific quartiles reflecting people’s willingness to pay. The research further proposes that along with public sector efforts to provide solid waste management services, a public-private-partnership model should be developed to involve the community in this drive to improve lives in the city of Jacobabad.
Mr. Hafiz Ullah Abbasi, Chief Economist P&D, issued the press statement on behalf of Mr. Muhammad Waseem, Additional Chief Secretary – Government of Sindh, “Improving municipal service delivery is one of the many challenges confronting local government institutions. In some municipalities, the existing facilities for water supply, sewerage, and solid waste management are dysfunctional and require major remedial interventions. Such complexities are better solved through strategic partnerships and this is where I would like to thank USAID, UNICEF and UN-Habitat for continuing to support our program for improved municipal services across the city.” He further added, “Armed with the research findings of the survey and its recommendations, we are a step closer to alleviating the concerns of the masses by setting up an effective and modern WASH services structure.”
As the program is aimed at strengthening and supporting the Government of Sindh through MSDP, Khalid Hyder Shah, Program Director – MSDP commended the project’s efficacy by stating, “The MSDP program aims to improve lives of the people of Sindh by developing and mending the water, sanitation, hygiene, and solid waste management structure. I appreciate the efforts of USAID, UNICEF, UN-Habitat and other partners in strengthening our structure and ensuring that people’s opinion is taken into account. The findings of this survey are critical to designing an effective and sustainable municipal services delivery mechanism.”
Dr. Nargiza Khodjaeva, Chief of the Sindh Field Office, UNICEF – talked about achieving SDG Goals. “The 2030 agenda for sustainable development talks about universal access to WASH services. The target 6.1 talks about universal, equitable, safe and affordable access to drinking water. Our focus initially under MDGs was on provision of improved water. We now need to ensure safety along with accessibility and availability. We therefore should ensure risk management approaches such as Water Safety Planning. Ensuring safety concerns will also enhance the willingness to pay levels”.
Jannat Durrani, WASH Officer, UN-Habitat said, “Any public service delivery system cannot be successful in isolation, unless the people who are to benefit from such a system are aligned with its objectives, and feel part of the entire process. Sustainable, efficient and equitable management of WASH services goes hand-in-hand with the need to carry out a responsible social mobilization and behavioral change communication with the public. This survey establishes appropriate and acceptable user charges for improved water, sanitation and solid waste management services, and takes into consideration the willingness and ability of people who benefit from these services.”
The event got massive recognition from the media with leading print media houses of the country like Dawn, The News, Express Tribune, Daily Times, Pakistan Observer, Pakistan Today, Nawa-i-Waqt and others devoting substantial newspaper space to the event. Similarly, the event was widely covered on renowned news and radio channels as well. On the social media front, the exclusive hashtag of the event, #WaterforPakistan, was a top trend on Twitter on 28 April 2016 throughout Pakistan, with youth, media, and social media influencers engaging in virtual dialogue over the importance and efficacy of the WTP Survey findings.