GI-ESCR joins Urgent Call to Action on the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation
The Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has joined WASH United and twenty-one other organization to urgently call on States to renew previous commitments to the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation in the outcome document of the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.
We are deeply concerned that the current draft of the outcome document departs from commitments that virtually all States have already made. In 2010, the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council recognized that the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation is part of international human rights law. In May 2011, the World Health Assembly, where all UN Member States are represented, adopted by consensus a resolution which included the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation.
As the third round of ‘informal-informal’ negotiations of the Rio+20 outcome document is under discussion in New York, we call on all States to demonstrate again the political consensus that has already been achieved. We urgently call upon States to use the following language in the Rio+20 outcome document:
The Paragraph “Water 1” of the outcome document should read as follows:
“We recognize the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights. We commit to the progressive realization of universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation for all. In this regard, we reaffirm our commitment to increase access to safe drinking water and sanitation in accordance with our goal to halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. We also reaffirm our commitment to the 2005-2015 International Decade for Action “Water for Life”.”
The new proposed paragraph on a target for achieving universal access to water and sanitation should read as follows:
“By 2030, achieve access to safe and affordable drinking water and sanitation for all, without discrimination, in sufficient quantities to protect human health and dignity, particularly for the most marginalized.”
The outcome document of the Rio+20 Conference will shape the future direction of development at all levels. It is uncontested that access to safe drinking water and sanitation is a fundamental pre-condition for overall sustainable development. In Rio, States have the opportunity to take a big step towards realizing the vision of safe drinking water and sanitation for all people - particularly the poorest and most marginalized - by integrating the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation into the outcome document. Without this step, international efforts to achieve sustainable development will risk failure.