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Palais des Nations (UN), Geneva, Switzerland. Photo by Jean-Benoit Charrin.

Palais des Nations (UN), Geneva, Switzerland. Photo: Jean-Benoit Charrin.

WaterLex officially began on 11 June 2010 just before the United Nations General Assembly recognized the human right to water and sanitation on 28 July 2010. At that time a mapping of the key stakeholders 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, the team came to realize that the human right to water could not be realized without sustainable water resources management at river basin level. 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 has become the “catalyzing link” between human rights mechanisms, academic institutions and development agencies. The credibility of the organization is enshrined in its unique legal skills relating to the human right to water and sanitation. WaterLex is strengthened substantially by its members, who are internationally renowned human rights specialists, including several former and current UN and Regional Treaty Body experts, and UN Human Rights Council mandate holders. WaterLex is valued for its expertise for its research and assistance on the implementation of the human right to water and sanitation.

“Human beings need to remember that they are connected, that their decisions impact one another and that they need one another to overcome current structural injustices.”  – Jean-Benoit Charrin, co-founder and ex-Executive Director of WaterLex

Today WaterLex is a development organization with UN ECOSOC and Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) consultative status, and UN Water and Global Water Partnership (GWP) Partner status. It is 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 enjoys governmental support, confirmed by ambassadors to the UN who are supporting the organization. Such political support is crucial to ensure that legal recommendations are brought down to and supported at national levels.

WaterLex promotes water dialogues, improved water cooperation, and brings sustainable water governance to the forefront of the global agenda.