Recognizing Sulabh International's pioneering work in developing low-cost, environmental-friendly public toilet system, the United Nations has accorded its highest consultative status to the Indian NGO.
The Chief of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) NGO office, Andrei Abramov conveyed the upgrade of Sulabh International from 'Special' to 'General' consultative' status in a letter to Sulabh founder Bindeshwar Pathak.
'General Consultative' is the highest status given to NGOs within the UN system which is reserved for large international NGOs with broad geographical reach, whose area of work covers most of the issues on the agenda of ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies.
This new status opens the door for Sulabh International to actively engage with ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies, as well as with the UN Secretariat, programmes, funds and agencies, and to actively participate in the work of the Council.
Organizations qualifying for General Category consultative status may propose new items for consideration by the ECOSOC and attend international conferences called by the UN General Assembly special sessions, and other intergovernmental
Since 1970, Sulabh International has helped build more than a million affordable latrines, which work without running water. More than 10 million people are using these facilities daily across India.
The organization has also helped build sanitary facilities in a dozen African countries including South Africa and Ethiopia, as well as in Laos, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Afghanistan.
In Kabul, where the city's infrastructure is in shambles, five Sulabh community sanitary complexes with biogas plants have been commissioned. The design has attracted interest from US Army engineers, who are considering building 40 similar complexes elsewhere in Afghanistan.