Right to water
The human right to water is a right (Re)sources has defended and advocated since 2005 as a fundamental right for human development.
The right to water: a global history
The right to water had explicitly belonged to two international conventions in force: the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the 1998 Convention on the Rights of the Child.
In 2000, the United Nations General Assembly stated that the “right to water is a fundamental human right”. Since 2002, the right to water has implicitly belonged to this covenant (1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, ICESCR). The right to water is internationally recognized as a basic right (article 11 of the Covenant, General Comment No. 15). The comment gives an official interpretation of the covenant, yet this interpretation is not formally binding for the States Parties.
The Right to Water finally recognized in 2010
The Right to Water finally was recognized at the international level by the United Nations General Assembly on July 28th 2010. The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution stating that the right to a safe drinking water is a “fundamental human right essential to the full enjoyment of life and all other human rights”.
The resolution calls all upon States and international organizations to “provide financial resources, help capacity-building and technology transfer, through international assistance and cooperation, in particular developing countries, in order to scale up efforts to provide safe, clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation for all.”
On November 21st 2013, the resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly sent another strong political signal supporting the Right to Water. There now exists a legal act recognizing the Human Right to Water and Sanitation at the international level.
Yet this is just a first step to the Right to Water, especially in developing countries. Implementing the Right to Water is first and foremost the responsibility of public authorities to define at the national level the rights and financial mechanisms underlying this basic right, and to carry out at the local level the implementation of investments and services. The challenge remains substantial due to the multi-faceted nature of the issues at stake: geographic and financial accessibility, equity, quantitative availability in space and time, or even drinkability of the water.
Since the establishment of its network, (Re)sources tirelessly supported the Right to Water by:
- calling for a definition of the Human Right to Water and Sanitation
- claiming the Right to Water and the Right to Sanitation are indivisible
- calling for the establishment of a comprehensive legal framework adapted to their implementation at the global level
- calling for a clear identification of an accountable duty bearer (no right without duties)