Water and Human Rights in the Post 2015 Agenda

WaterLex and the Deputy Commissioner for Fundamental Rights of Hungary organised a Side-Event on 13 September 2013 at the occasion of the XXIVth session of the UN Human Rights Council to tackle the issue of “Water and Human Rights in the Post 2015 Agenda”, in partnership with 15 international and non-governmental organisations and 10 States (see flyer). The objective of the Side-Event was to promote a human rights-based approach to water governance in the revision of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the elaboration of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Side-Event gathered more than 130 participants from Permanent Missions, international organisations and civil society.

The Side-Event was chaired by Mr Michel Jarraud, Chair of UN-Water, who officially welcomed WaterLex as a UN-Water partner. Mr Jarraud highlighted that “there now seems to be consensus that the SDG and MDG processes, including discussion on the post 2015 UN development agenda, must be closely coordinated and complementary”.

The Side-Event was opened by Mr Marcel Szabó, Deputy Commissioner for Fundamental Rights of Hungary, who insisted on the common responsibility of National Human Rights Institutions and civil society organisations in monitoring infringement to the right to water, under the umbrella of the United Nations.

To be highlighted are the Blue Group statement and the Butterfly Effect Declaration. Mrs Ambassador Laura Dupuy Lasserre, Permanent Representative of Uruguay to the UN, notably declared on behalf of the Blue Group that “it is essential to integrate a human rights perspective [in the definition of a coherent post 2015 development agenda], in particular by including equality, equity and non-discrimination at its foundation”. Mrs Maggie White, Chair of the Butterfly Effect, presented the civil society organisatons Declaration on “One ‘Water’ Goal, One Process”, calling for the development of a SMARTER (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound, Evaluated and Re-evaluated) water goal integrated a human rights-based approach.

Mrs Catarina de Albuquerque, Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, delivered a video message in order to stress on the need to focus on the most vulnerable groups in the post 2015 development agenda so as to reduce inequalities. In particular, she stated that “the future goal has not only to address the normative content of the right to water and sanitation, it has to refer to  sustainability and to the progressive elimination of inequalities”.

UNDP, UNECE, IUCN, WaterAid and ONGAWA also delivered speeches, recalling their support to the human rights-based approach. In particular, Mrs Chantal Demilecamps of UNECE presented for the first time the Equitable Access Score-card, which is a new tool developed within the framework of the Protocol on Water and Health aiming at ensuring access to drinking water and sanitation for everyone.

The latest WaterLex publication written in partnership with the Deputy Commissioner for Fundamental Rights of Hungary was also presented at the Side-Event, entitled “Towards a Human Rights Based Water Governance: Challenge for the post 2015 Thematic Consultations on Water” (accessible here).

Opening Address by Michel Jarraud, Chair of UN-Water
Blue Group Statement by Ambassador Laura Dupuy Lasserre, Permanent Representative of Uruguay
Butterfly Effect Declaration presented at the Side-Event by Maggie White, International Secretariat of Water
Programme of the Side-Event
Side-Event flyer

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