The Sector Efficiency Improvement Unit was borne out the recognition that the WASH sector over the years had become somewhat unmanageable due to a multitude of agencies operating in the sector, leading to fragmentation, duplication of institutional roles and responsibilities, different working approaches, weak accountability, and capacity constraints. There has been little harmonization amongst implementing agencies in program planning and implementation and policy monitoring is almost non-existent.
Although there is an overarching national target of providing universal access to water supply and sanitation services by 2017, the strategic vision has over the years become blurred and refocusing of the WASH sector on the needs of the un- and under- served is urgently needed. In addition, now that basic service levels are about to be reached, greater attention to capacity building for ensuring functionality and returns in health, economy and convenience of WASH facilities is needed. Gradually emerging towns and community water supply systems are financially able to aspire to higher service levels in water supply and sanitation. To encourage a greater degree of self-supply and enhancements of service, involvement and capacity building of the private sector will be a requirement.
The Government of Nepal will provide comprehensive support to these processes by ensuring adequate monitoring and performance assessment, targeted financing and capacity building, and by creating a regulatory framework that protects and encourages good practices in the delivery of WASH services.
The overall objective is to create a transparent, accountable, service-oriented and responsive WASH sector.
SEIU will undertake its activities working closely with all WASH sector partners. Through a consultative and participatory process, SEIU and the sector partners will develop a platform for harmonizing stakeholders’ approaches to improving the quality and sustainability of services.
As the secretariat to the SSG, the SEIU will review sector programs supported by major external agencies. These reviews will focus on program policies and priorities, institutional structures, subsidy arrangements and implementation. Through these reviews, the SEIU will suggest measures to achieve better coordination, uniformity and more effective use of resources and the adoption of a common sector-wide approach at national and district level.
The SEIU will be the main agency responsible for evaluating and monitoring policy and service delivery. It will also increasingly manage sector knowledge.
An important task will be to develop an umbrella policy on water supply and sanitation that ensures coherent, consistent, programmatic sector development leading to sustainable and affordable services. The umbrella policy will also improve uniformity in service standards across the country. SEIU will also facilitate the preparation of an Umbrella Water Supply and Sanitation Act to support the policy.
The Asian Development Bank has been providing initial support to the Sector Efficiency Improvement Unit as a component of the ‘Second Small Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Project (2010-2014). Until June 30, 2015, consultancy services were provided by Lahmeyer IDP, Philippines and TMS,Nepal.