A group of Civil Society Organization have expressed fears that the on going 6th World Water Forum plans to adopt a Ministerial Declaration that fails to commit States to the realization of the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, alerting that the draft Ministerial Declaration falls short of commitments that virtually all UN Member States have already made.
The Civil Society movement led by WASH-United.org is alleging that the Ministerial Declaration contains retrogressive language on the right to safe drinking water and sanitation which would still set a negative precedent, which a small number of States will use to try to undermine progress on the right to safe drinking water and sanitation at the United Nations level and in other international processes.
“Instead of reaffirming the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation as authoritatively recognized by the United Nations General Assembly, the Human Rights Council and the World Health Assembly (resolutions A/RES/64/292, A/HRC/RES/15/9, A/HRC/RES/16/2, A/HRC/RES/18/1 and WHA 64/24) and committing States to the realization of this fundamental human right, the draft Ministerial Declaration of the 6th World Water Forum in its current form only commits signatories to implement “human rights obligations relating to access to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation. This language leaves open the issue of whether access to safe drinking water and sanitation is a human right. The language thereby leaves room for States to individually determine whether their human rights obligations require them to realize the right to safe drinking water and sanitation for all. “
For the past few weeks, the WASH- united has been leading an advocacy campaign urging States participating in the 6th World Water Forum to explicitly and unequivocally reaffirm their prior commitment to the right to safe drinking water and sanitation.
The group noted in a statement that whereas: “Time for solutions” is the overarching theme of the 6th World Water Forum, If the Ministerial Declaration coming out of the 6th World Water Forum should indeed fail to unequivocally reaffirm the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation and to commit States to its realization, the Forum will clearly have failed to even begin to meet its aspiration of providing solutions for the billions of people living without sustainable access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation”