By OUR STAFF REPORTER
RISHIKESH, 17 Dec: Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA), in collaboration with Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) with technical support of Fresh Water Action Network South Asia (FANSA) is hosting a Summit on the critical theme of “Leave No One Behind” particularly with regard to access to Water and Sanitation (SDG 6) at Parmarth Niketan Ashram, here, from 16 to 18 December. The Summit is being organised with the aim to include those who have long been excluded in the benefits of development, and to ensure that no one in India will be left behind in access to the human rights of water sanitation and hygiene, including menstrual hygiene and health, and in the access and use of related WASH services. The Summit was inaugurated by the heads of 5 major faith traditions, mainly Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Sikhism, Jainism and Christianity in the Ashram premises. The consultation has brought together groups typically left behind in access to benefits of development – Youth, Women, Dalits, Adivasis, Transgenders and LGBTIQ, Migrants and Refugees, Urban Poor and Homeless, Persons with Disabilities, Elderly, Farmers, People living with HIV, Manual scavengers, and female sex workers. Vinod Mishra, head of WSSCC India, welcomed the participants. Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatii, Secretary General, Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, shared, “We cannot say we are a healthy society, a developed society, a sustainable society, or a society with rights, until and unless every single individual in our society has access to everything they need to ensure that their basic human rights are fulfilled. We must take the example of Maa Ganga, she flows for all.” Father Philip Kuruvilla said, “We must recognise the interconnectedness of all the challenges we face today, whether its health, water scarcity, climate change and/or terrorism.” Drikung Acharya Kinley said, “Once there is light, compassion and love for all then no one can ever be left behind.” Maulana Kokab Mujatba shared, “Those who don’t recognise their self and don’t understand themselves can never understand others. Those who don’t understand themselves can’t help others. Therefore, we must understand ourselves, start with our homes and expand to our communities, our countries and our world.” Sadhvi Shilapi said, “It’s not merely about not doing any bad but committing ourselves to doing more good. There is less negativity in the world then positivity but the challenge is that the positivity is passive. Therefore, we must actively do more positive and that must start with ourselves and our homes.” Laxmi Narayan Tripathi added, “Gender budgeting is a must! We must be aware of and give space to the third gender.” Swami Chidanand Saraswati added, “The root of the problem of is when we leave the One behind. When the One- the Creator- is left behind – when we forget that One is in all of creation – then we leave everything behind, then we see separation.” James Wicken, Head, Global Policy Advocacy Innovation Unit, WSSCC, proposed the vote of thanks. Everyone joined together to perform GIWA’s signature Water Blessing Ceremony. The event brought together participants from not only India but also America, Austria, Australia, Brazil, Nepal, South Africa, Estonia, Netherlands, China, Gemrany, United Kingdom and others, participants hailed from more than 20 states across India and more than 30 international and national organisations.