On the occasion of World Water Day (March 22, 2012) Catarina de Albuquerque, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to safe drinking water and sanitation, urged the international community not to go back on their promises to recognize the right to water and sanitation for all.
Nearly 1 billion people still do not have access to improved sources of drinking water.
“In order to achieve the future we want, we need to again underline our commitment to the human right to water and sanitation. We need to speak up for the millions who are marginalized and forgotten - people sleeping on the street, girls who walk miles to fetch water every day, boys who drop out of school because of diarrhoea, people who cannot access water because of their disabilities,” she underscored.
The increasing global demand for water in agriculture, energy, industry and for human consumption, linked to pressures generated by climate change, will affect the availability of water resources in many parts of the world.
The latest UN World Water Development Report presented at the World Water Forum in Marseille (March 12-17, 2012) warned these pressures will exacerbate economic disparities between countries, as well as regions within countries.
“The challenges, risks and uncertainties blocking the road to sustainable development and the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals require a collective response by the whole international community,” said Michel Jarraud, Chair of UN-Water.
“In the context of the Rio+20 agenda,” continued de Albuquerque, “who does not want a future where every single individual enjoys safe drinking water? Who does not want a future where nobody dies due to drinking unsafe water? Who does not want to eradicate the indignity and humiliation of open defecation?”
Water also represents a major challenge for Europe and North America. “Some 120 million people in the European region do not have access to safe drinking water. Even more lack access to sanitation, resulting in the spread of water‐related diseases. In North America, native peoples are often ill‐served by piped water and sanitation facilities. For example, over 10,000 homes on reserves in Canada have no indoor plumbing, and the water or sewer systems in one reserve in four are substandard,” reads the report.
(Photo © Roundabout Water Solutions)