A group of state decision-makers, municipal officials, urban planners and representatives of various regional and international organizations joined the mayors of Bhopal, Indore, Gwalior and Jabalpur at a two-day meeting in Bhopal to discuss the implementation of UN-HABITAT’s Water for Asian Cities Programme in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.
In a message to the conference 18-19 March, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, cited the need for addressing water and sanitation governance as a matter of priority for achieving the Millennium Development Goals in Madhya Pradesh, the third poorest State of India.
Dr. Uma Shashi Sharma, Mayor of Indore, said UN-HABITAT should help Indore and other cities address pro-poor water and sanitation governance as well as capacity building through public awareness, advocacy, education, experience sharing, and carry out demonstration projects.
The meeting also looked at ways of mapping the poor, bridging the sanitation gap and enhancing the city capacities for delivery.
The four mayors asked UN-HABITAT to play an active role in the introduction of responsive demand management strategies to improve efficiency and equity in their water supply, water use and to give more influence to those currently deprived of water and sanitation. The mayors also sought the agency’s support in capacity building for municipal staff, plans for sustainable water and sanitation management, and demonstration projects in water demand management and other related areas.
Partner organizations at the meeting included the Manila and New Delhi representatives of the Asian Development Bank, the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom, the Cities Alliance, USAID, and several of NGOs such as Water Aid, SEWA, SAMARTHAN and others.
The meeting agreed that consultations should be held with each city and its partners on water development plans, training needs and assessments, surveys of requirements, and strategic planning so that implementation can begin as soon as possible.