RESOURCES

20100815 The Right to Water UN Fact Sheet


20100815 The Right to Water UN Fact Sheet

Water is the essence of life. Safe drinking water and sanitation are indispensable to sustain life and health, and fundamental to the dignity of all. Yet, 884 million people do not have access to improved sources of drinking water, while 2.5 billion lack access to improved sanitation facilities. While these numbers shed light on a worrying situation, the reality is much worse, as millions of poor people living in informal settlements are simply missing from national statistics. The roots of the current water and sanitation crisis can be traced to poverty, inequality and unequal power relationships, and it is exacerbated by social and environmental challenges: accelerating urbanization, climate change, and increasing pollution and depletion of water resources.
In order to address this crisis, the international community has increasingly recognized that access to safe drinking water and sanitation must be considered within a human rights framework.
This publication is based on The Right to Water, issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Office of the United Nations High Commissionerfor Human Rights (OHCHR), the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE), WaterAid, and the Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR) in 2003. It starts by explaining what the right to water is, illustrates what it means for specific individuals and groups, and then elaborates upon State obligations with respect to the right. It concludes with an overview of national, regional and international accountability and monitoring mechanisms.