World Water Day 2013

UN Communiqué “Progress and equality should go hand in hand with cooperation regarding water issues”

Tuesday 2 April 2013

All the versions of this article: [English] [Español]

Authorship: United Nations Organization (ONU).

Editorial and Canal: Habitat International Coalition – Latin America (HIC-AL).

Type of document: Communiqués and statements.

Language: Spanish.

Theme: Water.

Keywords: Water, Feeding, International cooperation, Human rights, Gender related discrimination, Equality of opportunities, Environment, Women, Poverty, Health, Gender related violence.

Countries and Regions: International.

Description: UN Communiqué on World Water Day 2013.


- Introduction.

- Water and sanitation.

- Feeding.

- Extreme poverty.

- Environment.

- Health.

- International Order.

- Discrimination and violence against women.

Refer to document in the direct link.

A group of UN human rights experts on water and sanitation, feeding, extreme poverty, environment, health, women discrimination, violence against women and on the promotion of a democratic and equitable order issues stresses the importance of the World Water Day which in 2013 is devoted to cooperation on water issues.

"No matter whom we are and no matter where we might live, in anything we do water is a key element in our lives. We need water every day to cover for our basic needs: drinking and cooking, for personal hygiene, to culture our food, to keep healthy. Water is essential for health of the ecosystems, it is also necessary for industry and tourism, inter alia..

"At present it is more frequent to see water distributed through market mechanisms, this entailing the risk that the poorest might not be able to afford it. It is fundamental to ensure cooperation among users competing for water, to ensure the enjoyment of human rights for all human beings and that those basically marginalized and vulnerable will not receive a negative impact from a non equitable distribution of the resource, as a result of decisions taking regarding its distribution.

The enjoyment of human rights should grant priority to the needs of individuals and of the most vulnerable and marginal groups, and that required resources are available for all those needing it."

Water and Sanitation.

"In all missions in which I have participated with the United Nations I have been, sistematically, witnessing the negative effects of the climate change, of the increase in the scarcity of water for the most vulnerable people, and, quite often, of a total disregard for the human right to water facing other uses of this resource, such as in the agro-business, in large scale industry and in tourism. It is crystal clear that the rights of human beings should be in the front line and should be implemented, that the variety of users should unite, cooperate and ensure that water is at the reach of all people in an equal and easy manner.” United Nations Special Rappertour on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation, Catarina de Albuquerque.


"Fresh water resources are essential for agriculture, so that the world population might have Access to proper and nutritive food. Nevertheless, if quite often 70% of the water resources are used in agriculture, it is common to see that this vital and frequently limited resource is not share in an equitable manner among those needing it, quite the contrary, the distribution criterion is based in whom is able to pay more or on whom is the owner of the land where water is located." United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier de Schutter.

Extreme poverty.

"People living in poverty are disproportionally affected by the limited access to water and quite often they are compelled to inhabit areas in which the access to water is limited due to its cost, the lack of a proper infrastructure, the denial of services for people having no security in land tenure, a deficiency in resource management, pollution or the climate change. Access to fresh and clean water is fundamental to reduce a lot of poverty aspects and States should take steps to ensure that people living under a poverty situation should not be charged higher tariffs due to consumption levels." United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and extreme poverty, Magdalena Sepúlveda.


"Both the improvement of water resources and the management of waste water are key elements to ensure a healthy and safe environment. Over exploitation of surface and underground water from which irrigation for agriculture and domestic use depend on has resulted in the fact that everyday more countries are facing stress situation or water scarcity. In those countries we have those living in remote areas, which have been marginalized and are more vulnerable; these people are the most affected by this scarcity.” Independent UN expert on the issues of human rights obligations related with the enjoyment of an environment free of risks, clean, healthy and sustainable, John Knox.


"Fresh waer and a proper sanitation method are determinant factors for health. Quite often we have seen how a limited access to water and sanitation has undermined the implementation of the right to health, threatening life, devastating health, eroding human dignity and causing scarcities. International cooperation is essential to improve water supply, to manage water resources and to treat waste water. A better water management, including protection for water ecosystems, through a stronger cooperation by all interested parties is also crucial to prevent, control and reduce diseases related to water. These are indispensable steps to ensure human rights to health for all persons everywhere.” UN Special Rapporteur on the right of each individual to enjoy the highest level possible of physical and mental health, Anand Grover.

International order.

"With the growth of the world population, global climate change and the need of a healthy environment, the access to water resources has been transformed into a fundamental reason for the attainment of an equitable international order in which the needs of the people should be taken care in an effective manner. In this sense, the need to foster international cooperation, including a joint effort in which non state actors should also play a role, is fundamental to ensure that water is available for all persons without any type of discrimination. Water is a human right, a right with can be implemented, not a simple merchandise." UN Independent expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Alfred de Zayas.

Discrimination and violence against women.

"States should render more attention to gender related dimensions in the supply and distribution of water, since women are intrinsically linked to water resources; this is due to the role and responsibilities women have in the use and administration of said resources, in particular in the rural areas. Quite often women and girls do the cooking, clean, harvest and take care of health and hygiene at homes, thus they are in the front line of the water problem in their communities. It is common for them to travel considerable distances to fetch some water, facing thus the high risk of the sexual violence or any other form of violence. The voices of women should be heard at the international, national and local levels if we are trying to attain the prevelance of global equity in this water longing world we live on." United Nations Work Group on discrimination against women both in law and in praxis, Kamala Chandrakirana, President; and the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and its consequences, Rashida Manjoo.

"Let us celebrate the International Day of Cooperation on Water and appreciate the services we have – making sure that those without any access to this resource, to this incomparable service, shall access – with no discrimination whatsoever- through cooperation among the different parties interested who vindicate the most precious elixir in this planet, in anything we do, no matter whom we are and where do we live."

- Other online links related to this issue.

See online : UN Communiqué “Progress and equality should go hand in hand with cooperation regarding water issues”

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