WaterLex and UNESCO-IHE signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Monday 22 June 2015 describing future cooperation on research and other work pertaining to water governance, with an emphasis on water law and the human right to water.

The MoU, signed in Delft, The Netherlands, outlines activities including research and other support for WaterLex’s Parliamentarian HelpDesk, which seeks to inform lawmakers all over the world about a human rights-based approach to water governance for the benefit of current and future generations.

The Mou was signed prior to a lunchtime lecture entitled, “How Human Rights Can Improve Water Governance and Help Realise the SDGs” (SDGs are the sustainable development goals being finalized later this year). WaterLex Legal Desk Director Jan van de Venis led the seminar, which explained the value of a human rights-based approach (HRBA) to water governance.

With a human rights-based approach, which focuses on needs of people that are considered inalienable rights, the moral imperative is translated to legally binding rules, creating a legal entitlement to address situations that might otherwise be acted upon only through charity. This is accomplished when improved indicators, or measurements of activities and results, are in place alongside other water-governance tools as well as people’s access to international procedures and courts of law. HRBA also ensures shift in priorities, requiring focus on marginalized groups: women, low income groups, rural areas, informal settlements, etc.

Improved indicators, which van de Venis emphasized should be applied to the SDGs, help ensure equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water as well as improved sanitation.

Read the UNESCO-IHE announcement.

Read Jan van de Venis’ seminar presentation.

(Photo: WaterLex Legal Desk Director Jan van de Venis, left, and UNESCO-IHE Officer in Charge Prof. Dr. Stefan Uhlenbrook sign an MoU on 22 June 2015. Photo by Jacqueline Koot.)

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.