WaterLex was an international non-governmental organization (NGO) and thinktank, setup as a not-for-profit association under Swiss Law. It enjoyed UN ECOSOC and Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) consultative status, as well UN Water and Global Water Partnership (GWP) Partner status. It was a member of the UNECE expert group on equitable access to safe drinking water, and of the UNDP Global Water Solidarity platform and the Swiss Water Partnership (SWP). WaterLex also enjoyed governmental support, confirmed by ambassadors to the UN who were supporting the organization as members.


WaterLex was officially launched on 26 July 2010, two days before the United Nations General Assembly recognized the human right to water and sanitation (through Resolution 64/292). At that time a mapping of key stakeholders needs in international water governance confirmed the need for legal and independent support to implement this new international commitment within a harmonized legal framework. Over the years, WaterLex came to realize that the human right to water could not be realized without sustainable water resources management at river basin level (See 2012 Analysis Report – Shaping a New Water Governance). This lead the organization to broaden its scope to address broader water governance as a means to eventually contribute to securing the human right to water of every human being.

After six years, WaterLex became the “catalyzing link” between national governments, parliamentarians, human rights protection mechanisms, academic institutions and development agencies. The credibility of the organization was enshrined in its unique legal skills relating to the human right to water and sanitation. This was confirmed in the 2016 independent expert report mandated by the Swedish Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

WaterLex was strengthened substantially by its members, who were internationally renowned human rights specialists, including several former and current UN and Regional Treaty Body experts, and UN Human Rights Council mandate holders. WaterLex was particularly valued for its expertise for its research and assistance on the implementation of the human right to water and sanitation.

For more information on our 2010-2020 achievements.