Showing posts with label UN General Assembly. Show all posts
Showing posts with label UN General Assembly. Show all posts

Friday, July 23, 2010

World Water Activists Urge the UN General Assembly to Vote for the Human Right to Water and Sanitation

23 Jul 2010 09:00 Africa/Lagos

World Water Activists Urge the UN General Assembly to Vote for the Human Right to Water and Sanitation

NEW YORK, July 23, 2010/PRNewswire/ --

WHAT: Tele-press Conference

WHEN: Monday, July 26th at 08:00 -4GMT (New York, EST)

HOW: Contact Denise Hughes:, +1-917-549-2621, to R.S.V.P. or arrange an interview. Conference-Call-In- Number: +1-613-234-9374 Code - 973949 followed by the number sign.

WHO: Maude Barlow is the founder of the Blue Planet Project, Chair of the Board of Food & Water Watch, and Chair of The Council of Canadians. She was the Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the United Nations General Assembly. Her book, Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water, argues that the water crisis - together with climate change - poses one of the gravest threats to humanity.

Vandana Shiva is a world-renowned environmental leader. Director of the Research Foundation on Science, Technology, and Ecology, she is the author of Water Wars: Pollution, Profit. In Water Wars, she analyzes the historical erosion of communal water rights and exposes the destruction of the earth and the disenfranchisement of the world's poor. She also reveals how many of the most significant conflicts of our time are fought over water.

Pablo Solón Romero is Ambassador of Bolivia to the United Nations. Previously, he was Bolivia's Ambassador for issues concerning Integration and Trade. He was the Secretary of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) during Bolivia's Presidency of that institution and served as President Evo Morales's delegate in the Strategic Reflection Committee for South American Integration (2006). Ambassador Solón has been a social activist and worked for several years on human rights issues.


On July 28, for the first time the UN General Assembly will debate and vote on an historic resolution supporting the right to "safe, clean, drinking water and sanitation" that was presented on June 17 by Pablo Solón, the Bolivian Ambassador to the UN, and co-sponsored by at least 30 countries. This resolution would redress the omission of water as a human right from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The U.S., UK and Canada are standing against the resolution and influencing others to their position, threatening to divide the world body along North-South lines. Expressing concern, Maude Barlow says, "The U.S., Canada, and some European countries are throwing in every wrench they can to stop this process, even as their own citizens enjoy these rights, they shamelessly deny these rights to others. They're using procedural excuses to block an issue of life and death and showing no respect or compassion for those suffering terribly from lack of water and sanitation."

Why a UN resolution?

Water is essential to life. Everyday 4,000 children die from water-related illness. The United Nations estimates that nearly 1.2 billion people live without clean water and 2.6 billion without proper sanitation.

Passing this resolution is the first step the international community can take towards water sustainability. It will focus attention on the fundamental importance of water and sanitation. The resolution will also lay the legal groundwork for a fair system of distribution, and begin a larger process to clarify the state's role to ensure clean, affordable water to all. Future legal instruments could also protect water rights for the earth and address the urgent need to reclaim polluted waters and end destructive practices of the world's water sources.

Water must be paramount in realizing the Millennium Development Goals, and at the Climate Change Convention and Rio +20. In the International Herald Tribune, Mikhail Gorbachev said, "Expanding access to water and sanitation will open many other development bottlenecks...As population growth and climate change increase the pressure for adequate water and food, water will increasingly become a security issue."

Without water's recognition as a human right, decision-making over policy will continue to shift from the UN and governments toward institutions that favor private water companies and the commodification of water. In the face of a worsening global water crisis, UN member states must affirm whether water is a human right, or a commodity.

"Life requires access to clean water; to deny the right to water is to deny the right to life," says Maude Barlow, "We must seize this moment to enact solid legislation and action at national and international levels - starting with the U.N. vote on Wednesday."

For further information: Denise Hughes,, +1-917-549-2621, to R.S.V.P. or arrange an interview

Source: Blue Planet Project

For further information: Denise Hughes,, +1-917-549-2621, to R.S.V.P. or arrange an interview