speakers ICC event 2015

Speakers at the WaterLex ICC side event, from left, Allan Lerberg Jørgensen, Jan van de Venis, Dr. Marcel Szabó, and Karam Singh.

The international public-interest development organisation WaterLex convened a well-attended panel discussion at the Palais des Nations in Geneva Friday (13 March 2015) to explore the roles national human rights institutions (NHRIs) can play in monitoring water governance.

The discussion, attended by about 65 delegates of the 28th session of the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, was entitled, “Monitoring Sustainable Development Goals (Water and Sanitation): The Role of National Human Rights Institutions.”

“NHRIs are the cornerstone of national human rights protection systems,” said WaterLex Legal Desk Officer Viktoria Mohos Naray, who manages the organisation’s NHRI Water Initiative. “They are uniquely placed to potentially play an enhanced role in monitoring water governance for the realization of human rights.”

Following comments from the four speakers listed below, delegates had a chance to ask questions and make comments, leading to further discussion.


  • Dr. Marcel Szabó, Hungarian Ombudsman for Future Generations, Deputy Commissioner for Fundamental Rights: See presentation
  • Mr. Jan van de Venis, Legal Desk Director, WaterLex: See presentation
  • Mr. Karam Singh, Provincial Manager, South African Human Rights Commission: See presentation
  • Mr. Allan Lerberg Jørgensen, Department Director – Human Rights and Development, Danish Institute for Human Rights

Please click here for an in-depth summary of individual speakers’ comments.

The event also served as the official launch of WaterLex’s new book, National Human Rights Institutions and Water Governance: Compilation of Good Practices (click for more information and optional download), which chronicles the experiences of 21 NHRIs from all corners of the world in attempting to monitor water governance in their countries and achieve a human rights-based approach to it.

The event was organised by WaterLex in partnership with the Hungarian Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, the South African Human Rights Commission, and the Danish Institute for Human Rights; with cosponsorship by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Swiss Confederation, the Federal Republic of Germany, and the Republic of Costa Rica; and with support from Loterie Romande (Switzerland).



Click here to see more photos from the event. Photos on this page by David Snow.

For more information:

WaterLex International Secretariat
Tel: +41 22 907 36 46
Email: info (at) waterlex.org

About WaterLex:

WaterLex is an international public interest development organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. It is a UN-Water Partner with UN ECOSOC special consultative status. Its mission is to develop sustainable solutions based on human rights to improve water governance worldwide, particularly in regard to consistent water law and policy frameworks. It works with an alliance of interested parties to improve water-governance frameworks, bringing them in line with country obligations under international human rights law. The interested parties are individuals and groups working in government (diplomatic missions), academia (professors of law, researchers), bilateral cooperation (water management advisors), the judiciary (high/supreme courts judges), the UN system (UN-Water family members), and civil society (NGOs that work on water issues). WaterLex works in partnership with 85 universities to continuously enrich the content of the WaterLex Legal Database. The organisation is funded by grants and project financing from public agencies, foundations, private gifts, and in-kind contributions. Established in 2010, when the human right to water was recognised by the UN, the organisation has a secretariat in Geneva with 15 staff members, a supervisory board of directors, and a large pool of members and expert advisors. It is an official member of the Global Water Partnership, UNDP Cap-Net, UNDP Global Water Solidarity, UNEP Global Wastewater Initiative, and Swiss Water Partnership.