7WWF Parliamentarian Conference 3

WaterLex Legal Desk Director Jan van de Venis speaks at the special parliamentarian cross-section event Wednesday (15 April 2015) at 7WWF.

High-profile parliamentarian discussion about shaping an ideal national water law caps WaterLex 7WWF participation: 4 events in 3 days, plus the social media campaign #WaterRules!

By David Snow | WaterLex |

In collaboration with UNESCO-IHE, WaterLex presented a special cross-section event with parliamentarians as part of the 7th World Water Forum’s Political Process on Wednesday (15 April 2015) entitled “Shaping an Ideal National Water Law: A Multi-Stakeholder Dialog.”

The discussion, part of the Conference of Parliamentarians for Water, explored the essential elements needed for a national water law to lay a foundation establishing water availability and sustainable management for present and future generations. 

“Coherent national legal frameworks can be strong instruments for States facing governance challenges that arise from competition among water users, poor water quality, or coordination issues among organisations involved in water management,” said WaterLex Legal Desk Director Jan van de Venis, who spoke during the event about the need for a human rights-based approach to integrated water resources management (IWRM).

During the event, Van de Venis presented the WaterLex Parliamentarian HelpDesk initiative managed by Legal Desk Officer Dr. Elodie Tranchez, who has also been participating in events at the World Water Forum, taking place this week in Daegu and Gyeongbuk, South Korea.

“Globally speaking, human rights standards are not a stick to blame the States but a tool to inspire and guide legal and political processes,” Tranchez said.


Parliamentarians at 7WWF show support for WaterLex’s #WaterRules! campaign.

Leading up to the cross-section event, WaterLex joined in high-level discussions about the language of the final Parliamentarian Statement delivered at the conference, which makes several references to the need for effective legal frameworks and improved water governance in recognition of human rights.

“Even if the final Parliamentarian Statement does not explicitly mention a priority on domestic needs and the importance of ratifying international, or at least regional agreements, WaterLex is satisfied to see these ideas circulating to MPs worldwide,” Tranchez said.

For their part, MPs who took part in the event were happy for the chance to collaborate.

“We are delighted that with WaterLex we succeeded in influencing the final Parliamentarian Statement,” said Sophie Auconie, a governor of the World Water Council and former French MP to the european parliament. French MP and forum attendee Jean Launay expressed similar sentiments.

“A big thanks to WaterLex for organising this session, and for pointing out and influencing the main issues of the final Parliamentarian Statement of the 7th World Water Forum,” added Luc Recordan, Swiss MP, who participated in the cross-section discussion.

Cross-Section Speakers:

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 – Yoo-ak Park, 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 – Asma Bachich, president – The youth perspective on ideal national water law and water management for present and future generations


Tuesday: 7th World Water Forum: Putting the Water-Energy Nexus into Practice with Economic and Policy Incentives  (with IWA, UNECE and IUCN)

Monday: 7th World Water Forum: Keys to Providing Safe Drinking Water for All (with UNESCO-IHE)


At the Expo: #WaterRules!


At the Swiss Water Partnership (SWP) exhibition hall booth, WaterLex maintained an informative table display focused on our recent project in Benin and showed its short introduction video throughout the forum’s duration.

During a talk and networking event entitled “Water Stewardship – New Legal Challenges” on Tuesday (14 April), WaterLex Legal Desk Director Jan van de Venis and Legal Desk Officer Dr. Elodie Tranchez hosted visitors for a discussion and showed a new WaterLex animated video all about realising interconnected human rights. Watch the new WaterLex video.

In the booth area, WaterLex staff and forum volunteers took photos of attendees interested in supporing better water governance by standing with WaterLex and holding up our Twitter hashtag sign: #WaterRules!

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

See more photos on Twitter by searching for the hashtags #waterrules! and #waterrules.

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 see #WaterRules! photos of WaterLex staff.

Click here for the full SWP booth programme.

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, and the Swiss Water Partnership.