WaterLex, Cynthia Bleu-Lainé has participated in this expert consultation organized by the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, Léo Heller on 14-15 May 2018, Geneva.
The Human Rights to water and sanitation have a considerable importance in the SDGs 6. In this context, it is imperative for the States and non- State actors to deliberate on the principle of accountability in the context of human rights to be implemented sustainably.
The objective of this consultation was to have better comprehensible approach of the report. The main goal of the report was first, to explain the different dimensions of accountability in the context of human right to drinking water and sanitation, second, to understand the need of a legal and institutional frameworks for the rights-holders and its barriers to implementation and third to list the positive experiences that can be replicate worldwide.
Responsibility as a dimension of Accountability
The roles and responsibilities of key actors regarding the accountability in the context of the full realization of the human rights to drinking water and sanitation were defined, regarding to States, non-States actors, the Civil Societies and the rights-holders. It is very crucial first to assess the implementation of quantifiable measures and indicators and second to understand the ways international standards are transformed. There is a fragmentation in the responsibility role due to a lack of interaction, coordination and clarity between the different parties. The issue of territoriality has not been sufficiently addressed, and it should be reframed because it represents a big impact, a potential and an added value to the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation. On the Civil Societies and the Private Sector sides, they have an important role to play in strengthening their legitimacy, but also in being more committed to the human institutions values.
The responsibility and the roles of the different actors should be clearer, a major issue in fighting corruption.
Answerability as a dimension of Accountability
It was defined that the accessibility and the availability of the information on explanations and justifications for the actions and decisions concerning water and sanitation should be more emphasised, as well as a better engagement with the rights-holders.
NGOs have felt accountability towards the donors, but the challenge is about sustainability, as the NGOs have been struggling on how to extend access to water sanitation.
Enforceability as a dimension of Accountability
The different judicial and institutional mechanisms implemented to reinforce the accountability in the context of human rights to drinking water and sanitation were detailed.
The judicial reinforcement to the human rights showed some weaknesses and strengths points. On the weakness points, the Africa region has been cited as a region where this system was not strong enough cause of corruption. On the strength points, in some cases, the judicial mechanisms brought positive incentives to implement the human rights to water and sanitation.
Dimensions of Accountability
The quality of the existing mechanism as well as the awareness of the mechanisms in place were discussed to provide better services for the rights-holders.
The different actors’ roles overlap between Responsibility, Answerability and Enforceability of accountability, making difficult for the political dimension to differentiate the legal and non-legal mechanisms implemented or to be implemented.
Barriers to an enabling environment for accountability in the human rights to drinking water and sanitation.
According to the regulators, it is important, firstly to recognize who in the Government is leading the accountability process of human rights, secondly to assess the monitoring and evaluation process and to fight corruption and finally not to forget the accountability of the regulators as well to the rights-holders