Ministers and sanitation sector leaders from around the world will convene this month at the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention (MGISC) in New Delhi. Hosted by the Government of India, this event will be an opportunity for delegates to exchange sanitation successes and best practices. The convention concludes with Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth year celebrations and the beginning of the final year of the Swachh Bharat “Clean India” Mission (SBM) – the intensive behaviour change campaign launched in 2014 by the Hon. Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi.
The number of people practicing open defecation in India has reduced from 550 million in 2014 to less than 150 million today. India is on track to achieve open defecation free (ODF) status by 2019. SBM will continue to significantly contribute to the global achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6 which aims to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.”
Prime Minister Modi stated at the United Nations in 2015: “Much of India’s development agenda is mirrored in the Sustainable Development Goals. Our national plans are ambitious and purposeful; sustainable development of one-sixth of humanity will be of great consequence to the world and our beautiful planet.”
Rural sanitation coverage in India has increased from 39% in October 2014 to over 93% as of September 2018, with over 85 million household toilets constructed. Twenty-one States/Union Territories, over 450 districts, and 450,000 villages are now ODF.
An exhibition of global sanitation innovations and a site visit to a Gandhi Trail, where dignitaries will visit places of significance to Gandhi’s life, will be part of the Convention.