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NGOs Call For Full Implementation Of Human Right To Water, Sanitation In Letter To U.N. Member States

At the end of last month, the international community commemorated the second anniversary of a July 2010 U.N. General Assembly resolution declaring water and sanitation a basic human right, but “there was hardly any political rejoicing either inside or outside the U.N.,” Inter Press Service/Guardian reports. “In March, [UNICEF] and the [WHO] released a joint report claiming that the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water (spelled out under Goal 7 on environmental sustainability) had been reached well in advance of the 2015 deadline,” the news service writes. Though the MDG goal was reached, “[a] cautious UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake warned that victory could not yet be declared since at least 11 percent of the world’s population — roughly 783 million people — are still without access to safe drinking water, and billions are without sanitation facilities,” the news service notes.

In a letter sent to U.N. member states, a “coalition of 15 international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), whose members describe themselves as ‘water justice activists,’ said this human right is yet to be fully implemented,” according to IPS, which notes, “The coalition includes the Council of Canadians, the Blue Planet Project, Food and Water Watch, National Alliance of People’s Movement of India, People’s Coalition for the Right to Water in Indonesia, and Food and Water Europe.” In the letter, “the NGO coalition said the recently concluded Rio+20 summit on sustainable development affirmed ‘full and unquestioned consensus among U.N. member states regarding the human right to water and sanitation,'” adding, “We are therefore demanding the full implementation of this vital human right, and remedies to the tremendous obstacles we are facing in all of our regions,” IPS writes (Deen, 8/7).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.