The National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI) Water Initiative was launched in 2013 to enhance the role of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in monitoring water governance. As part of the Initiative, WaterLex provided training services on the advancement, promotion and protection of the right to water and related human rights.

Over the course of 7 years – WaterLex has:

  • Published the NHRIs good practices compilation, which identifies, gathers and documents important knowledge about the practices, challenges, key factors in successes, and important lessons to be learned in activities undertaken by NHRIs in relation to water governance.
  • Published a training manual that provides NHRIs with a deeper understanding of the legal content of the human right to water and sanitation, for them to better promote and protect water governance for the realisation of human rights.
  • Launched the NHRI Water Initiative Common Platform, a private platform that allowed member institutions to have a peer-to-peer exchange, share knowledge and good practices, and have access to training resources and capacity building tools.
  • Since 2014, WaterLex has trained over 30 NHRIs on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation. Regional training events included several NHRIs in the Pan European and Asian Region, a group of 19 NHRIs in the meeting of the Asia Pacific Forum (Kuala Lumpur), and country training events in El Salvador, and in Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Initial Steps

1. Launching the initiative: side event at the Budapest Water Summit on 10 October 2013

The Deputy Commissioner for Fundamental Rights of Hungary (Hungarian NHRI) together with WaterLex organised a side event at the Budapest Water Summit devoted to the role of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in water governance. This Side-Event launched the NHRIs Water Initiative on advocating a more prominent role of NHRI’s in water governance. At this occasion, Mr Leandro García Silva of the NHRI of Argentina (Defensoría del Pueblo de la Nación) delivered a video message advocating his support to the initiative.

2. NHRIs training in Copenhagen on 14 October 2013

WaterLex undertook a training workshop on understanding the right to water and sanitation entitled “Contributing to the Realization of the  Human Right to Water and Sanitation : The Role of NHRIs” in the framework of a course organised by the Danish Institute for Human Rights on 14 October 2013 in Copenhagen. The training was targeted to NHRIs in Africa with respect to economic, social and cultural rights. The NHRI water governance initiative was presented in this framework whereby several NHRI indicated their willingness to be part of the initiative.

3. NHRIs training in Mexico on 15-16 October 2013

WaterLex represented by Executive Director Jean-Benoit Charrin delivered a training session on 15-16 October 2013 on the right to water and sanitation addressed to the NHRI of Mexico.

4. NHRI Water Initiative Meeting in Geneva on 13 March 2014

The Hungarian Ombudsman for Future Generations (Hungarian NHRI) and WaterLex organised a Side-Event on 13 March 2014 in Geneva (Switzerland) to present their join initiative on National Human Rights Institutions and good water governance at the UN Palais des Nations. The meeting brought together NHRI representatives from around the world along with delegates of Geneva-based diplomatic missions. This event provided an opportunity to present the NHRI water initiative to NHRI representatives and to discuss challenges and best practices of NHRIs across the globe in promoting the human right to water.