Right to water: new UN resolution supports sustainable service delivery approach

A new resolution passed by the UN Human Rights Council at its 18th session calls on states to ensure enough financing for sustainable delivery of water and sanitation services. Passed by consensus on 28 September 2011, resolution A/HRC/RES/18/1 has taken last year’s landmark decision to recognise the right to water and sanitation as legally binding in international law, a step further.

The new resolution is based on ongoing efforts by UN Special Rapporteur Catarina de Albuquerque to get states to go beyond Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and strive for universal service provision.

States should maximise investments so that:

Water and sanitation systems are sustainable and that services are affordable for everyone, while ensuring that allocated resources are not limited to infrastructure, but also include resources for regulatory activities, operation and maintenance, the institutional and managerial structure and structural measures, including increasing capacity

The resolution emphasises universal service provision, giving priority to realising a basic level of service for everyone before improving service levels for those already served. It also calls on states to:

- Consider wastewater management, including treatment and reuse
- Include disaggregated data in monitoring indicators
- Ensure that national standards are applied in decentralised services
In May 2011, Ms. De Albuquerque participated in a WHO/UNICEF meeting, which recommended the inclusion of service level and human rights indicators in post-2015 monitoring of drinking-water and sanitation. Read More


version - 6.22-2011.05.27-01