GENEVA, March 9 (KUNA) -- The United Nations Special Rapporteur Catarina de
Albuquerque today warned that the right to safe drinking water and sanitation
will be sidelined at the 6th World Water Forum, a key global gathering of
delegates from 140 governments, international organisations, civil society and
the scientific community, representing more than 180 countries.
"It comes as an unwelcome surprise that the draft ministerial declaration
of the 6th World Water Forum: Time for Solutions still does not recognize the
human right to water and sanitation that has been explicitly recognized at the
UN," said the expert charged by the Human Rights Council with promoting,
monitoring and reporting on the human right to safe drinking water and
sanitation. "Governments are being inconsistent with their prior decisions on
the recognition of the right to water and sanitation taken at the UN General
"If Governments spend one week discussing 'solutions' for water issues
while failing to base them on the human right to water and sanitation, how
could such solutions be for people who need water and sanitation most and are
systematically neglected?," asked de Albuquerque.
"The outcome of the World Water Forum may become 'solutions' built on
In the final draft Ministerial Declaration of the 6th World Water Forum
scheduled to take place in Marseille from 12 to 17 March 2012, governments -
under a strong push by a very small minority of countries - have for the time
being failed to explicitly affirm that the right to water and sanitation
should be the basis for any solutions aimed at bringing sanitation and water
for those still deprived of these essential services.
"The World Water Forum is not a gathering seen as a source for the creation
of international law, but it is still unfortunate that this Forum's
Declaration does not respect the outcomes of long-standing thorough and
comprehensive discussions at the UN," de Albuquerque said. "I call upon the
Governments participating at the World Water Forum to amend the text of the
draft declaration. We still have time to do that."
The independent expert further stressed that the international human rights
standard on water and sanitation agreed at the UN must also guide the
negotiations for upcoming Rio+20 and post-2015 development goals. "I am
confident that UN Member States will integrate the human right to water and
sanitation into future global agreements," she said.
Catarina de Albuquerque is the first UN Special Rapporteur on the human
right to safe drinking water and sanitation. She was appointed by the Human
Rights Council in 2008.
De Albuquerque is a Professor at the Law Faculties of the Universities of
Braga and Coimbra in Portugal and a Senior Legal Adviser at the Office for
Documentation and Comparative Law, an independent institution under the
Prosecutor General's Office. (end)
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