October 10, 2016 Society

Turning rights into realities

IWA Manual on the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation for Practitioners launched

Five years ago the UN General Assembly adopted a Resolution recognising access to safe drinking water and sanitation as a Human Right.

Since then, significant advances in the “progressive realisation” of the rights to water and sanitation have been made. A number of countries have enshrined the Right in their Constitution. Others have translated the Right into legal and regulatory frameworks. Experience has been gained on how, for example, to prevent regression at times of economic hardship. And new questions have been raised as to how to bring those to justice who do not abide by what the Right prescribes.

“The approach to the implementation of the UN Resolution on Human Rights to Water and Sanitation is critical to the attainment of the new Sustainable Development Goals. It is an opportunity for the transformation of billions of lives and one of the drivers for economic development. The IWA Manual provides the practical understanding in the pursuit of that opportunity which must be grasped by water professionals and their political leaders.” – Michael Rouse, Contributing Author

Governments are the duty bearers responsible for the progressive realisation of the Right and they have the obligation to create a conducive legal and regulatory framework. Yet, the actors on the ground are the service providers who have to incorporate human rights principles and criteria into their daily routine of delivering water and sanitation services. The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, and the aim of universal access to water and basic sanitation, makes this all the more urgent.

The IWA Manual on the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation (HRWS) provides a guide for operators, utility managers, NGOs managing water supply and sanitation services, and regulators. It aims to promote informed decision-making by operators, managers and regulators in their daily work, as well as to encourage them to engage actively in the national debates that will take place in many countries where the HRWS is being translated into national and local policy, legislation, and regulation

The Manual will provide practical guidance on how corporate structures and policies can be adapted to meet new needs, how existing activities (for instance, pro-poor programmes) can be enhanced to optimally address human rights issues, and how new activities can make a difference in ensuring inequality and discrimination will be eliminated from services that provide for everybody’s most basic needs.


The IWA Manual on the Human Rights to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation for Practitioners will be launched on at 6pm, Monday 10 October, on the IWA Stand (#301) at the World Water Congress and Exhibition



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