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„Water for Life – Water and Sanitation as a Human Right”


In July 2010 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the right to water and sanitation as a human right. It forms part of international human rights law.

Water is essential for life. Clean water and sanitation could save the lives of countless children, support progress in education and liberate people from the illnesses that keep them in poverty. Ensuring that every person has access to at least 20 liters of clean water each day to meet basic needs is a minimum requirement for respecting the right to water. The adoption and recognition of the human right to water and sanitation is a breakthrough in the more than 20 years of international discussion: Availability, quality, acceptability, accessibility and affordability are the key aspects dealing with the human right to water.

The workshop aims to discuss the process, implications and impacts of the human right to water and sanitation. The Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Catarina de Albuquerque, and representatives from the United Nations System, South Africa and an experienced journalist will discuss the following questions: Who has the right to water and sanitation? Does the right mean that water should be free? Is the recognition of water as a human right enough? What are the misunderstandings? What are the obligations of the states and is there a role for other actors? What is the relation to other human rights? What are the implications? ……

The workshop is organized by the United Nations Office to Support the International Decade for Action "Water for Life" 2005-2015 (UNO-IDfA), which implements the UN-Water Decade Program on Advocacy and Communication (UNW-DPAC), in collaboration with UN-Habitat, the UN-Water Decade Program on Capacity Building (UNW-DPC) and the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC).

The workshop is accompanied by a journalist orientation training on 19 June 2010.

Ben Parker
UN News Editor

Catarina de Albuquerque
United Nations Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation

Rolfe Eberhard
Energy and Development Research Centre of the University of Cape Town

Amanda Marlin
Programme Manager, Advocacy and Communication, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC)

Kieran Cooke

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