Right to Water

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"The Friends of the Right to Water has worked hard in past years to advance the idea of a binding, new covenant enshrining water as a fundamental human right. Despite its challenges – including the compromise with corporations over voluntary statements of social and environmental standards in the Global Compact and the lack of a consistent means of enforcing and realizing human rights – the UN remains the sole international political organization with the capability to bring a new force of customary international law (deriving from custom and practice rather than written treaty law) – into being. Such mechanisms can, and have been integrated into national legal frameworks, though not consistently. The Friends of the Right to Water outline some key principles that could inform the construction of a new global covenant." (http://ourwatercommons.org/water-solutions/case-1-push-un-covenant-right-water)

Key Principles

From [1]:

  • Water is necessary for all life on earth.
  • Water is a fundamental human right and requires States to be willing and able to implement their respective obligations to respect, protect and fulfill the right to adequate water and sanitation.
  • As part of their obligations to fulfill the right to water, States have obligations to provide adequate, safe, accessible and affordable water and sanitation for all people within their jurisdiction who currently do not have such access, with preferential treatment and positive action for the poor and marginalised.
  • States must ensure that is water allocated in a manner that prioritises people’s basic needs and livelihoods.
  • Water is a public trust and not a commodity and belongs to all humanity and the earth. As such, water should remain in the public domain.
  • States have the responsibility to ensure the conservation of freshwater ecosystems, to prevent overconsumption of water, the degradation of water systems and to protect of watersheds.
  • Sufficient clean water is necessary to protect ecosystems and other species. Healthy ecosystems will ensure the human right to water for future generations.
  • States have obligations to guarantee the human rights principles of participation and transparency, including that water services must be under democratic public control, in which members of the public fully participate in decisions on water management and the allocation of water resources.
  • Water resources contained completely within a State’s boundaries are considered part of the national patrimony and should never be subject to foreign exploitation.

More Information

  1. Water Commons