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News The end of controversies on the Human Right to Water

The UN adopted last 30 September 2010 an important resolution on the Human Right to Water. This decision puts an end to controversies on the Right to Water.

Through resolution A/HRC/15/L14 -1 passed yesterday, the U.N. Human Rights Council has achieved a landmark that clarifies the meaning of the Right to Drinking Water and Sanitation as well as the responsibilities of States and other parties towards right-holders. This is real progress towards making these Rights a reality for the people who need them.

The resolution clarifies three key points:

Duties - States (public authorities) have the primary responsibility to ensure realisation of this Right, irrespective of the operators, internal or external, that they use to deliver it.

Means - Public authorities have the possibility to choose “non-State” actors, (private companies, entrepreneurs, NGOs, community-based organizations and State-owned companies) to provide safe drinking water and sanitation as they see appropriate. Their responsibilities when using any of these service providers are the same. The resolution:

6. Reaffirms that States have the primary responsibility to ensure the full realization of all human rights, and that the delegation of the delivery of safe drinking water and/or sanitation services to a third party does not exempt the State from its human rights obligations;

7. Recognizes that States, in accordance with their laws, regulations and public policies, may opt to involve non-State actors in the provision of safe drinking water and sanitation services and, regardless of the form of provision, should ensure transparency, non-discrimination and accountability;

Legal Framework - Further to the recognition of the Right by the UN General Assembly in July and the work of the UN in Geneva over the last decade, the legal basis of the Right to Water and Sanitation is made explicit.

Gerard Payen, President of AquaFed welcomed the resolution saying:

"Now we have a clear legal framework that will enable all stakeholders to focus on the effective delivery of these vital services to meet the urgent needs of billions of people." He referred to the Federation's press release of July 29Th. that celebrated the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly and highlighted key steps necessary to implement the Right.

The private sector is a minority of the whole range of indirect or "non-State" operators that provide water and sanitation services to a significant part of the world's population. It already provides highquality reliable services to hundreds of millions of people every day. AquaFed estimates that the number of people who do not have a regular, safe and affordable supply of tap water in their homes every day is close to 4 billion, or half the world's population.

To overcome this deficiency, all forms of providers face similar challenges. The clarity provided by this resolution and the recent report by the Independent Expert on the Right to Water and Sanitation, Ms. Catarina de Albuquerque, 2 will help public authorities to mobilise all of them.

# # #

AquaFed is the International Federation of Private Water Operators. Open to companies and associations of companies of all sizes and from all countries, it aims to contribute to solving water challenges by making Private Sector know-how and experience available to the international community. It brings together more than 300 water companies that serve hundreds of millions of people in 40 countries. For many years through their International Federation, private water operators have supported the Human Right to Water and Sanitation and advocated for more ambitious water and sanitation policies. # # #


Contact information Dargère Nadine ; Van Waeyenberge Thomas - AquaFed, the International Federation of Private Water Operators / ActuPresseCom (email: ; ; ; )
Phone: +32 2 234 78 07 ; +32 4 79 23 78 26 / +33 1 47 20 22 61
News type Inbrief
File link
File link local UNHRC-RTWS_AquaFed_Press Release_Pd_EN_2010-10-01.pdf (PDF, 74 Kb)
Source of information AquaFed
Keyword(s) right to water, Human Right to Water
Geographical coverage n/a
News date 01/10/2010
Working language(s) RHAETO-ROMANCE

Commentaire d'Henri Smets

Il faut signaler que les Etats Unis pour la première fois défendent le droit à l'eau et que seul le Royaume Uni s'est dissocié du consensus pour des raisons juridiques hors de propos (mais pas sans fondement). Pour ce qui concerne la Méditerrranée, il faudrait rappeler la Charte de la Ligue Arabe de 2004 qui a rendu obligatoire le droit à l'eau alors que les résolutions de AGNU ou du CDH ne sont pas obligatoires.

Henri Smets

Posted by jauad at 06 Oct 2010 14:57:34