ToR of the Working Group

Dhaka, 16 June 2009

Terms of Reference
LCG Working Group on Water Supply and Sanitation (WSS)


The LCG Sub-Group on Water Supply and Sanitation (LCG-WSS) initially provided for an interactive and broad communication and information sharing mechanism for donors and groups representatives in Bangladesh. Over the years, membership of this forum gradually expanded to over 60 government, non-government, sector support organizations and development partners. It has been playing an import role for the development of this sector from its establishment on the issues of Policy and Strategy Formulation, Sector Reforms, up-lifting of sector issues in the mainstream development agenda such as inclusion of WSS in the Interim and Main Poverty Reduction Strategy, Organizing the first South Asia Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN-I) in Dhaka; Sanitation Campaign Movement in Bangladesh etc.

The main guiding document of the sector i.e. the National Policy for Safe Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation’1998 resulted from a realization towards the end of the 1990s that the absence of a policy framework was thwarting sector coordination.

The LCG is presently being reorganized, including LCG sub-groups on different sectors and themes. Too many sub-groups i.e. 21; no linkage and effective coordination between executive committee and sub-group particularly on planning, information sharing and less involvement of Government are main rationale behind this planning of restructuring of the whole LCG. As part of this process, the LCG sub-group on WSS has formulated a new TOR for addressing new emerging challenges to be addressed by this forum.
Issues to be addressed in the WSS Sub-sector
Although the WSS sub-sector has achieved significant progress in the provision of WSS services for all, inadequate sector reforms, arsenic contamination, rapid urbanisation, inadequate sector investment and lack of capacity to implement sector investment are some of the main issues that create impediment for ensuring provision for safe WSS for all. Emerging issues include:

  • Policy and Strategy Formulation: The WSS Sub-sector still needs to amend policies and strategies to address crucial issues such as provision of WSS for hard to reach areas and people living in the informal settlement in urban areas and ensuring supply of safe, arsenic free drinking water to everybody.
  • Sector Reforms: WSS Sub-sector reforms are needed, such as institutional framework and the role of different institutions, such as LGD, government agencies i.e. DPHE, LGED, Local Government Institutions (LGIs) on how to create provision of safe WSS for all.
  • Agreed Sector Investment Plan (SIP): Financing for the sector has been reducing gradually. Therefore, it is crucial for an agreed SIP for short-term, medium-term and long-term development.
  • Sector Results Framework: Development and monitoring of a WSS Sector Results Framework,  
  • Capacity Development: The sector institutions lack capacity and skills to implement even the existing financial allocation fully, timely, effectively and efficiently.
  • Information Sharing: Information sharing of the sector stakeholder would be critical to identify issues that need to be addressed continuously.
  • Advocacy forum: As an advocacy forum this group should create enabling environment for information sharing and do advocacy of all relevant WSS Sub-sector issues with concerned agencies.   

To accelerate performance of this sector, this sub-group may do the following:

  • Involvement of Government in the LCG-WSS sub-group could be sought through (i) creating a provision for a GoB co-chair in this sub-group and (ii) establishing linkage with Parliamentary Standing Committee to involve government in this process;
  • Information of the LCG-WSS sub-group should be communicated with the government, e.g. by sending minutes of the meeting of this sub-group;
  • Establish linkage with BDF and the LCG main group for reactivating LCG-WSS sub-group and how it contributes to fulfilling of the overall objective of the main LCG.  
  • Map out what different donors and agencies are doing in the WSS sub-sector, including climate change and urbanization and its implication on WSS.
  • Create working groups on clarification of WSS issues including findings and recommendations. 

The overarching objective of the Sub-group on Water Supply and Sanitation is to:

  • Contribute towards effective and coordinated implementation of National Policies, Strategies, Plans and Programmes on Water Supply and Sanitation in rural and urban Bangladesh, with an emphasis on reaching the poorest citizens.

The specific objectives are to:

  • provide a forum for development dialogue with sector development partners and promotion of donor coordination; contribute to ensuring accountability amongst development partners for their engagement within the sector;
  • exchange information with GoB related to the progress and constraints in the achievement of goals set by the GoB in the sector and take a lead in developing co-ordinated responses to these constraints;
  • facilitate common understanding and integration of policies, approaches and efforts of development partners in the sector; this would include an inventory of GoB and donor activities in the sector to be updated regularly;
  • coordinate activities to avoid duplication and encourage complementarity in programming;  provide feedback to the government, concerned agencies, and the main LCG;
  • report to the ExComm and LCG Plenary as and when necessary on sector developments;
  • coordinate with other relevant LCG sub-groups, e.g. the LCG sub-groups for Water Resource Management and Environment; LCG sub-group on Agriculture;
  • develop and monitor progress on the sector results framework in close cooperation with the LGD;
  • exchange information, share experiences and lead in the dissemination of best practice in operational approaches/practices with demonstrable, measurable and effective impact;
  • support achieving the MDGs and implementing the PRSP within the stipulated timeframes; and
  • support the development of an appropriate budgetary framework for sector-wide implementation.

The Government, development partners, NGOs and universities. The members that are not able to attend any of the meetings of the Sub-group will be kept informed of the proceedings of the meetings and their inputs and suggestions will be solicited as feasible. In addition to these regular members, resource persons will be invited from relevant organisations/agencies as appropriate.
Organisational set-up
The attached LCG Sub-group Guidelines ( will guide the overall functioning of the Sub-group in the context of the LCG mechanism. The Chairperson will be appointed by general consensus of the members of the Sub-group, for a recommended period of 2 years, following the LCG mechanism.
The LCG sub-group on WSS is independent of the National Forum for Water Supply and Sanitation. The Forum may however request the LCG sub-group on WSS to review and investigate any aspect of sector development that the forum consider necessary. Proceedings of the Forum will be shared amongst all LCG sub-group members.  
The Sub-group's Terms of Reference will be reviewed and revised as appropriate at least every second year.
Functioning of the LCG Sub-group on WSS
The Sub-group will meet quarterly and more often if required. The Sub-group will have an action-oriented character, and will utilize small thematic working groups to help achieve its objectives. These would be based on topics of relevance and may have short or long-term lives. The working groups may adopt member(s) from outside the full member agencies where expertise and technical input is needed. Joint field trips and informal activities to strengthen the functioning of the Sub-group might be conducted. An annual plan with tentative agenda should be prepared and an annual summary may be prepared at the end of the year.
The Policy Sector Unit (PSU) of the Water and Sanitation Wing of the LGD have a WSS sub-sector policy support function and a coordination role for the GoB and all sector stakeholders. The PSU will act as the secretariat for the Sub-group. Web-site is: .

PSU will maintain contact to the LCG Secretariat located in UNDP.

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