By David Snow | WaterLex |

Participation by the public and civil society organisations in forming policy and law are key to effectively realising the human rights to water and sanitation (HRWS), especially among vulnerable populations, panellists at a discussion at the 7th World Water Forum 2015 in Daegu and Gyeongbuk, South Korea, said Monday.

In addition, capacity-building, knowledge-sharing and special considerations for marginalised people, including mapping vulnerable populations, will be crucial in realising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) being developed. Experts predict that a right-to-water goal related to several other goals will be among the final SDGs.

The international public-interest development organisation WaterLex, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and Freshwater Action Network – Mexico (FANMex)  participated in the panel discussion, entitled “Safe Drinking Water for All: Realising the Human Right to Water and Sanitation,” which was part of the forum’s ongoing Thematic Process.

The World Water Forum (WWF), which is the world’s largest meeting on water, has been organised every three years since 1997 by the World Water Council on or near World Water Day (22 March). The event, taking place in Daegu, South Korea 12-17 April, consists of three main processes — political, thematic, and regional — in which officials, legislators, and local and regional authorities from more than 150 nations take part. Topics are developed in cooperation with the private sector, governments, industry, intergovernmental organisations (IGOs), non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and academic groups, and then incorporated into a common framework of goals and targets to be achieved. Click here for the WWF programme.


In keeping with WaterLex’s Twitter and social media campaign at 7WWF (Better Law = Better Water … #WaterRules! … see more information below), the panel discussed how evolving law and policy can lead to improved freshwater sources, helping to realise the human right to water and sanitation.

Other key points of the discussion:

  • The numbers of people with access to clean drinking water and improved sanitation may rise, but inequality remains a major issue.
  • Local water governance must be improved.
  • The success of laws and regulations depends on the ability to manage the implementation of all components.
  • A holistic approach and integrated water resource management is required.
  • Sustainable solutions based on human rights are needed to improve water governance, and thus the realisation of the right to water and sanitation, worldwide.
  • Especially in relation to the SDGs, the environmental components of the HRWS should not be forgotten. Cleaning up pollution and keeping environmental systems clean and healthy will become even more crucial (and probably more difficult) in the decades to come.
WaterLex Legal Desk Director Jan van de Venis moderates a panel of safe water for all at The 7th World Water Forum in Daegu, South Korea, on 13 April 2015.

WaterLex Legal Desk Director Jan van de Venis, second from left, moderates a panel discussion on safe water for all, 7th World Water Forum, Daegu, South Korea, 13 April 2015. Photo by Dr. Elodie Tranchez.


  • David Alves, Water and Waste Services Regulation Authority of Portugal (ERSAR)
  • Eva Carazo, FAN Central America (FANCA)
  • Senugman Cha, Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA)
  • Chantal Demilecamps, UNECE
  • Bojan Jojic, Prijedor Municipality, Bosnia and Herzegovina (Presentation)
  • Roukiattou Ouedraogo, Permanent Secretariat of NGOs (SPONG)
  • Yannick Pavageau, Ministry of Health, France
  • Murali Ramsetty, FAN
  • Ron Sawyer, FANMex
  • Jan van de Venis, WaterLex (moderator)
  • Sarantuyaa Zandaryaa, UNESCO
  • Fred van Zyl, South Africa Department of Water and Sanitation


Political Process: Special Cross-Section Event

In collaboration with UNESCO-IHE, WaterLex will organise a special cross-section event regarding parliamentarians in the Political Process on Wednesday entitled “Shaping an Ideal National Water Law: A Multi-Stakeholder Dialog.” From a multi-stakeholder perspective, the event will examine the essential elements for a water law to lay the foundation establishing water availability and sustainable management for present and future generations. During the event, WaterLex will present its Parliamentarian HelpDesk initiative, as it did in the Monday panel discussion.


Zambia – J.J. Mwimbu, MP – Water management: needs, gaps and opportunities
Switzerland – Luc Recordon, MP – The Swiss legal experience and practices in water management
South Korea – Mrs. Parks, MP – The Korean legal experience and practices in water management
UNESCO-IHE – Zaki Shubber, Lecturer in law and water diplomacy advisor – What can we learn from water-related legal reform in South-Asia? An advisor’s point of view
WaterLex – Jan Van de Venis – Legal desk director – The need for a human rights-based approach to integrated water resources management
UNECE – Chantal Demilecamps, Environmental Affairs Officer –
Legal framework to ensure transboundary water management: an example with the 1992 Convention and its implementation guidelines
World Youth Parliamentarian for Water – New President of the movement to be elected – Water management for present and future generations
(Information: Wednesday, 15 April 2015, 15:40- 16:40, Gyeongju HICO 3rd floor, Convention A; session code P.P.special)

Expo activities: #WaterRules!

Elodie Tranchez, left, and Christine Strub.

WaterLex Legal Desk Officer Dr. Elodie Tranchez, left, and Director of Human Resources and Office Mgt. Christine Strub.

At the Swiss Water Partnership (SWP) exhibition hall booth, WaterLex maintains an informative table display and shows its short introduction video throughout the forum’s duration. There will also be a talk and networking event entitled, “Water Stewardship – New Legal Challenges” (Tuesday, 14 April, 16:30-19:00). WaterLex Legal Desk Director Jan van de Venis and Legal Desk Officer Dr. Elodie Tranchez will host the event.

In the booth area, WaterLex staff and forum volunteers will take photos of attendees who would like to support better water governance by standing with WaterLex and holding up our Twitter hashtag sign: #WaterRules! We’ll create a photo gallery and use the hashtag in our tweets, and we hope you will, too.

Click here to download and print our sign, take your own photo with it, and post it to Twitter with the hashtag #WaterRules!

Click here to view #WaterRules! photos from the 7th  World Water Forum.

Click here to see example photos of WaterLex staff.

Click here for the full SWP booth programme.

(Information: WaterLex at EXCO – Swiss booth, No. 90, Yutongdanji-ro, Buk-gu, Daegu 702-712, South Korea).

For more information:

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

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.