The Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development (2002), adopted the target to halve the number of people without access to basic sanitation. This research project explores an issue central to the achievement of this target, namely the development of clear national policy frameworks - sanitation policies and the rules and procedures that flow out of them. This research builds closely on the work of USAIDS's Environmental Health Project (EHP), to field test and refine the Guidelines for the Assessment of National Sanitation Policies (Elledge et al 2002). The purpose of this research is to contribute to this process by field-testing the Guidelines in two countries, Nepal and Ghana. In doing so, the work seeks to both influence the policy development process in the selected countries and provide feedback to EHP, leading to the further development and refinement of the Guidelines. This Inception Report is the first output from the project and covers the period September to November 2003.