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Key Figure : 10


The UN celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Human Right to Water and Sanitation


On 28 July 2010, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution recognising water and sanitation as human rights. Since then, 193 States have committed themselves to ensuring access to drinking water and sanitation for all from now to 2030, the date chosen for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals

The results achieved at the halfway mark are mixed, according to Léo Heller, UN special reporter on human rights to water and sanitation, in a declaration made on this occasion. Although initiatives have been taken and progress made through the recognition of these rights, the goals are still far from being reached: one person in three still lacks access to drinking water and half the world’s population have no safe sanitation facilities. In addition, the health crisis has shed light on the impossibility for the most exposed populations to conform to hygiene rules, since they have neither water nor soap.

The special reporter warned that achieving the goals of Agenda 2030 requires that everyone pushes to provide access to these basic human rights. Indeed, its goals bring together all the major links of development: access for all to health and essential services, environmental protection, the reduction of social inequalities, etc., all subject to access to and the sharing of water resources. In his own words:

“The commitments of Programme 2030 give the impetus to ensure no one is left behind, but they won’t be enough if countries approach the goals and targets as if reaching them were a purely quantitative exercise, and placing human rights to water and sanitation by the wayside”

An observation of importance for building a more resilient world, capable of tackling the structural causes of our vulnerabilities, once the health crisis caused by Covid-19 has ended.

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