Six cities in the State of Madhya Pradesh in India are to benefit from an Asian Development Bank (ADB) loan of US$ 200 million, which will go towards improving the water and sanitation sector in these cities.
Bhopal, Gwalior, Indore, Jabalpur, Ratlam and Ujjain are among the first Indian cities to work in cooperation with UN-HABITAT, the ADB and the State Government of Madhya Pradesh to ensure that investments in the water and sanitation sector reach the urban poor in these cities. The idea of the UN-HABITAT initiative is that the project be implemented under a pro-poor urban governance structure to achieve the Millennium Development Goal on water and sanitation. The ADB investment is part of a US$ 500 million commitment it made last year to support the urban water and sanitation sector in Asia through UN-HABITAT’s Water for Asian Cities Programme.
A stakeholder’s consultation, which concluded in Bhopal 5 August, recommended that the six cities focus on the following priority areas: pro-poor water governance; water demand management and rainwater conservation; integrated urban environmental sanitation; water education and public awareness; partnerships among multi-stakeholders, including donors; and improvement of sector performance through integration of innovation and human values. The meeting was attended by senior Indian government officials, representatives of public and private municipal corporations, non-governmental organizations, donor agencies, UN-HABITAT and the ADB, among others. The aim of the talks was to finalise a capacity-building strategy for the water and sanitation sector in the six Indian cities.