Safe World for Women Logo

Know Your Rights

UN Resolutions on the Right to Water and Sanitation

UN General Assembly Resolution of 28 July 2010 (A/RES/64/292) ….

1. Recognizes 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;

2. Calls upon States and international organizations to provide financial resources, capacity-building and technology transfer, through international assistance and cooperation, in particular to developing countries, in order to scale up efforts to provide safe, clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation for all;

3. Welcomes the decision by the Human Rights Council to request that the independent expert on human rights obligations related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation submit an annual report to the General Assembly, and encourages her to continue working on all aspects of her mandate and, in consultation with all relevant United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, to include in her report to the Assembly, at its sixty-sixth session, the principal challenges related to the realization of the human right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation and their impact on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

Human Rights Council Resolution of 6 October 2010 (A/HRC/RES/15/9)

1. Welcomes the work of the independent expert on the issue of human rights obligations related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation, including the progress in collecting good practices for her compendium,1 and the comprehensive, transparent and inclusive consultations conducted with relevant and interested actors from all regions for her thematic reports, as well as the undertaking of country missions;

2. Recalls General Assembly resolution 64/292 of 28 July 2010, in which the Assembly recognized 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;

3. Affirms that the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation is derived from the right to an adequate standard of living and inextricably related to the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, as well as the right to life and human dignity;

4. Calls upon the independent expert to continue to pursue her work regarding all aspects of her mandate, including to clarify further the content of human rights obligations, including non-discrimination obligations in relation to safe drinking water and sanitation in coordination with States, United Nations bodies and agencies, and relevant stakeholders;

5. Acknowledges with appreciation the second annual report of the independent expert and takes note with interest of her recommendations and clarifications with regard to both the human rights obligations of States and the human rights responsibilities of non-State service providers in the delivery of water and sanitation services;

6. Reaffirms that States have the primary responsibility to ensure the full realization of all human rights, and that the delegation of the delivery of safe drinking water and/or sanitation services to a third party does not exempt the State from its human rights obligations;

7. Recognizes that States, in accordance with their laws, regulations and public policies, may opt to involve non-State actors in the provision of safe drinking water and sanitation services and, regardless of the form of provision, should ensure transparency, non-discrimination and accountability;

8. Calls upon States: -

(a) To develop appropriate tools and mechanisms, which may encompass legislation, comprehensive plans and strategies for the sector, including financial ones, to achieve progressively the full realization of human rights obligations related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation, including in currently unserved and underserved areas; -

(b) To ensure full transparency of the planning and implementation process in the provision of safe drinking water and sanitation and the active, free and meaningful participation of the concerned local communities and relevant stakeholders therein; -

(c) To pay particular attention to persons belonging to vulnerable and marginalized groups, including by respecting the principles of non-discrimination and gender equality; -

(d) To integrate human rights into impact assessments throughout the process of ensuring service provision, as appropriate; -

(e) To adopt and implement effective regulatory frameworks for all service providers in line with the human rights obligations