This report, an output of WSUP’s Urban Sanitation Research Initiative, explores the background to the urban sanitation sector in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is a lower middle-income country with high ambitions, but poor infrastructure in urban areas is holding back economic growth. However, onsite sanitation is the norm; transport and treatment services for sewage and faecal sludge are under-developed. The legal framework for sanitation is fragmented, but recent progress has been made in developing a draft regulatory framework for faecal sludge management (FSM).
In addition, there is significant overlap in institutional responsibilities, contributing to the limited supply of FSM services. Funding has focused on rural sanitation, and sewerage services to urban areas. Rapid urbanisation, low decentralisation, lack of demand for and supply of FSM services and lack of investment are all major barriers to pro-poor urban sanitation. To conclude, despite challenges, the sector has an opportunity to bring about change.