These guidelines to assess the adequacy of national sanitation policies are intended to be a practical tool to inventory and evaluate policies. The assessment tool will serve to focus attention on key elements of sound sanitation policy and programming. The guidelines will be particularly useful for policymakers in national governments, staff and consultants of donor agencies, and influential actors involved in supporting policy reform initiatives focused on improving sanitation services.
Chapter three describes the key elements in national sanitation policies:
• Political will: the support given to policies by politicians, government officials, and representatives of influential organizations.
• Acceptance of policies: Sanitation policies that are accepted by stakeholders give an indication of relevancy, and those that are accepted will most likely be effective in guiding changes in sanitation services,
• Legal framework: there should be a legal basis in the form of laws, legislative acts, decrees, regulations, and official guidelines
• Population targeting: three population groups generally need priority attention because of their inadequate sanitation services. These groups, which can be found in almost all developing countries, are the urban poor in large cities (especially in the poor and peri-urban areas of large cities), residents of small towns, and most of the rural population.
• Levels of service: to be sustainable, the minimum adequate levels of service for any given community are determined by service costs, the economic status of communities and households, and the willingness of users to pay or otherwise contribute to the installation of a sanitation system, the availability of water, convenience, status (in terms of attractiveness and modernity), and perceptions of health impacts.
• Health consideration: the health impacts of sanitation are the primary reason to develop sanitation policies.
• Environmental considerations: increasingly, sanitation is being seen as a major issue in environmental protection.
• Financial considerations: the level of service, capital costs, and financial policies on recurrent costs are inextricably linked. The national budget process is an important factor in determining how these costs are allocated.
• Institutional roles and responsibilities: the sanitation needs of all population target groups should be under the clear responsibility of specified institutions. The roles of each institution should be defined, and there should be a designated office as a focal point for the institution.
The tool also provides methods guidance for sanitation data collection and tips for completing a field assessment.
Chapter five provides a checklist of steps for moving forward:
• Create an initial task force or similar body that can guide the development of sanitation policies.
• Agree on the policy change agenda
• Finalize the composition of the task force
• Develop a strategy for addressing the issues
• Determine the resources needed to implement the agenda
• Implement the strategy for policy development
• Monitor the implementation of the strategy
• Initiate the approval process
• Communicate the results to the public and stakeholders
The author emphasizes that “while these steps will naturally vary among countries, they do represent the lessons learned in implementing policy changes across a wide range of stakeholders. They are offered as a starting point for developing a strategy for taking action after the assessment.”