The Human Right to Water and Sanitation
Million of lives are still claimed every year, and human development is held back on a massive scale by unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and the lack of hygiene. Recent estimates by the World Health Organization and UN-Water indicate that improvements in sanitation and drinking water could reduce the number of children who die each year by 2.2 million (WHO and UN-Water, 2010). It is urgent to change the perception of these foundations for human life, from basic needs to entitlements. Access to water and sanitation – as human rights – has gained growing attention over the last few years at a global level, increassingly engaging the water sector and the international community regarding its content and implications. In 2007 the Swedish Water House put together a Cluster Group on Water and Rights, comprising variety of actors interested in understanding the implications for policy and practice of the rights to water. This policy brief has been prepared by the Cluster Group, consisting of members from the Church of Sweden, KTH Royal University of Technology, the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Åland Islands Peace Research Instiute, GeWa Consulting, and the Swedish Women’s lobby. The brief aims to identify bacis challenges in implementing the human right to water and sanitation, and to guide decision-makers in some of the priorities that need to agreed to secure safe, accepable and accessible water for domestic purposes for everyone, notably for marginalised and vulnerable groups in society.