Cynthia Bleu-Lainé, Programme Manager at WaterLex, giving a presentation on a human rights-based approach to water and sanitation to World Water Week attendees

As World Water Week continued in Stockholm, WaterLex participated in a session on “Nature-Based Solutions for Water: A Smart Approach to Disaster Risk”, together with Swiss Water Partnership, CSD Engineers, Caritas Switzerland, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation, Direction Générale de L’Eau Genève, and Swiss NGO DRR Platform.

In this session, Cynthia Bleu-Lainé, Programme Manager, and Amanda Loeffen, Director General, presented on working with a human rights-based approach to water and sanitation. The approach seeks to identify groups and people whose rights are violated, understand why certain people are unable to enjoy their rights, and redress unjust distributions of power that impede development progress. Using a human rights-based approach, development partners should direct their programmes to promote and protect human rights based on agreed international human rights standards and principles. There is increasing evidence that a human rights-based approach cannot only promote inclusive development processes, but also helps to fight inequalities and promote sustainable development results.

Five of the main principles of a human rights-based approach were discussed and elaborated on. These five principles are Participation, Transparency, Non-Discrimination, Accountability, and Sustainability. Connected to these, Géraldine Gené, Legal Advisor, illustrated how a human rights-based approach could be applied by presenting examples for each principle, based on case studies from Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala.

Our new publication available now!


These case studies, and others, are elaborated on in the recent WaterLex publication “Good Practices in Access to Water and Sanitation in Central America: Lessons from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua”. The study is the result of the workshop “The realisation of the human rights to water and sanitation and SDG 6 in Central America” organised by WaterLex in El Salvador earlier this year. The publication presents experiences of good practices towards the realisation of the human rights to water and sanitation in four Central American states, which have been, and are still being, implemented by different stakeholders in the water and sanitation sector. To read the new publication, please click here.