Water and Sanitation as a Human Right

10 Years of UN Water

Human rights recognise the inherent value of each person, regardless of background, where we live, what we look like, what we think or what we believe.

They are based on principles of dignity, equality and mutual respect, which are shared across cultures, religions and philosophies. They are about being treated fairly, treating others fairly and having the ability to make genuine choices in our daily lives.

In 2010, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 64/292 recognizing “the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights”.


2020 marks the tenth year since the UN General Assembly adopted resolution explicitly recognizing the human rights to water and sanitation.

In 2010, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 64/292 recognizing “the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights”. Subsequently, the Human Rights Council, in September 2010, affirmed this recognition and clarified that the right is derived from the right to an adequate standard of living (HRC res 15/9).

Throughout 2020, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation is organizing a campaign to celebrate 10 years of work and advocacy for the human rights to water and sanitation. Each month with a different theme in focus;

  • January: Different levels and types of service and the human rights to water and sanitation
  • February: Service regulation and the human rights to water and sanitation
  • March: Gender equality in the human rights to water and sanitation
  • April: The human rights to water and sanitation in spheres of life beyond the household. Affordability and the human rights to water and sanitation.
  • May: Development cooperation and the human rights to water and sanitation. Megaprojects and human rights to water and sanitation.
  • June: Forcibly displaced persons and the human rights to water and sanitation.
  • July: The principle of accountability and the human rights to water and sanitation.
  • August: Progressive realization of the human rights to water and sanitation.
  • September: Privatization and the human rights to water and sanitation.
  • October: A compilation of best practices in the human rights to water and sanitation.

Youth and Innovation

Youth and Innovation

On Thursday 23rd July, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Land and Water Division, will host the webinar ‘Youth Innovation in Land, Soil and Water’ at 14:30 CEST.

The engagement of youth and young professionals plays a key role achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Today’s youth are more geographically mobile and technologically connected than any other generation. Moreover, they hold a capital of innovative and scalable solutions and ideas that are often overlooked. In the context of COVID-19 pandemic, intergenerational exchange and cooperation is even more crucial to bridge past experiences with innovative ideas, driving the creation of holistic solutions.

The session will deliver lightning talks from young professionals on how youth and innovation go hand in hand to deliver solutions, on land, soil and water resources management, for a sustainable tomorrow.

The objectives of the webinar are as follows:

  • Highlight innovative projects and approaches for sustainable land, soil and water management
  • Provide successful examples of the role of youth as key actors in international development
  • Explore ways to further include youth in decision making and implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Register for the webinar ‘Youth Innovation in Land, Soil and Water’ here


United Nations University
Institute for Water, Environment and Health

The world is in the midst of a global water crisis – where lack of adequate freshwater supplies and poor management threaten the health of both humans and ecosystems. Each year, two million people are killed due to diseases caused by poor water quality and inadequate sanitation, and the health of millions more is harmed. Coastal oceans provide some 20% of the animal protein in the human diet, but are in a perilous state due to climate change and local degradation. These water problems will continue growing as world population climbs and climate change alters global water distribution patterns.

A critical factor contributing to the water crisis is the lack of indigenous capacity – educational, managerial, technological and institutional – for effective water management in many developing countries. UNU-INWEH acts as the “UN Think Tank on Water” and contributes to the resolution of the global water challenge through a unique programme of applied research and education. It conceives, develops, and manages water initiatives that help developing countries build their capacity for lasting improvements in human and ecosystem health, and overall reduction in poverty.

The United Nations University is not a traditional university in the sense of having a faculty, campus, or students. We respond directly to the regional and global water crisis and facilitate efforts to meet UN Development goals by providing a scientific evidence base. UNU-INWEH carries out its work in cooperation with other research institutions, international organizations, individual scholars, and scientists throughout the world.

Our Vision

United Nations University – Institute for Water, Environment and Health’s vision is to create a world free of water problems where sustainable human development and environmental health and security are assured for all.

Our Mission

UUnited Nations University – Institute for Water, Environment and Health’s mission is to help resolve pressing water challenges that are of concern to the United Nations, its Member States, and their people, through:

  • Knowledge-based synthesis of existing bodies of scientific discovery;
  • Cutting-edge targeted research that identifies emerging policy issues;
  • Application of on-the-ground scalable solutions based on credible research; and,
  • Relevant and targeted public outreach.

Core Values

Encompassing the core values enshrined in the UN Charter, particular attention is given to the following:

  • Improvement in human wellbeing through the provision of safe water and access to adequate sanitation, now recognized by the UN as a human right;
  • Ensuring sustainable economic growth, achievement of peace and security, and reduction in poverty through management of water resources, access to essential water services, and promotion of ecosystem health;
  • Fostering gender equity through development of opportunities for and empowerment of women and men; and
  • Ensuring accountability and transparency for resources and results in all actions.

Visit UN Water

Visit United Nations University – Institute for Water, Environment and Health

 

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