Global Support for Water and Sanitation
The UN General Assembly recognized water as a human right in 2010, but 40% of the world’s population still lacks access to adequate sanitation, and 25% lacks access to clean drinking water. The NGO Mining Working Group (MWG), of which UNANIMA is a member, has just made a strong push to have the “human right to water and sanitation” language included in the Sustainable Development Declaration (the document that will go out with the Sustainable Development Goals–SDGs). They sent a joint letter to the UN member states, building on the earlier urgent advocacy by civil society. UNANIMA signed on, joining 621 organizations that collectively represent billions of people from over 90 countries. We expect the draft of the Declaration to be released at the end of May.
Recently, UNANIMA helped the MWG bring Maude Barlow (pictured) to the UN to speak on a panel celebrating the International Day on Harmony With Nature (“Earth Day”). Maude, from the Canadian Blue Planet Project, was very instrumental in getting water declared a Human Right in the first place. In her talk she observed that there are conflicting values and goals in the SDGs. For one thing, she said, they give more power to corporations and the financial markets, and they offer no way to hold corporations accountable. Another speaker asked, “Will we live in such a way that the Earth will be grateful for US?”