Τhe human right to water : a primary goal of sustainable development
On the 28th of June 2010 the United Nations General Assembly declared that access to clean water represents a human right. This is an important victory, because the human right to water is connected with the right to a life with dignity. This declaration called the United Nations members and international organisations to take effective measures in order to ensure that drinking water and sanitation will be accessible for everyone as a primary goal of sustainable development.
The human right to water
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. The human right to water finds its roots on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) in which the article 25 proclaims that ”everyone has a right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being ”. It is also connected to the human right to life and it is necessary for the realisation of other human rights. The human right to water and sanitation was explicitly recognized in 2010 by the United Nations General Assembly and three years later, the Human Rights Council agreed on the comprehensive normative content of this right, and by now many states have incorporated this right to their constitutions.
Water and sustainable development
Water is at the core of sustainable development. We can not ignore the key role of water in agriculture, energy, health, biodiversity, ecosystems and as well as in combating poverty. Water can pose a serious challenge to sustainable development because the access to water is a part of sustainable development policy. The sustainable development was defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Today a total of 748 million people do not have access to an improved drinking water resource and more than a million people lack safe drinking water. So, measures must be taken for the purpose of ensuring the adequate supplies of wholesome drinking water. Furthermore, the United Nations’ goal is to halve the proportion of people who can not reach safe drinking water and to stop the unsustainable exploitation of water resources.
Children’ right to water
The most vulnerable group concerning the water crisis is of course the childen. The children bear the primary responsibility of water collection and walk an average of 3.7 miles a day just to collect water. Every 90 seconds a child dies from a water-related disease. The International Convention on the Rights of the Child on the article 25 proclaims that ”Every child has the right to access health services and attain the highest degree of health… The state shall also abolish all traditional practices detrimental to a child’s health”. So we must not ignore the confirmation on many Conventions of the children’s right to water. The International Child Rights day (on the 20th of November) have just been passed and reminded to us that the children’ right to water must be protected in practice.
To sum up, the most valuable component of the universe, the water and the access to it is a recognised human right .The access to water is not only a right but also a goal of sustainable development. The link between the water and sustainable development is indisputable because it ensures the existence of water resources for the future and the development of the human world in general.