United Nations Member States have explicitly recognized water and sanitation as a human right. Yet the human right to water and sanitation remains unmet for hundreds of millions of people. According to a UNICEF and WHO study, at least 1.8 billion people drink fecally contaminated water. In addition, 2.5 billion remain without access to basic sanitation.
Member States have committed to deliver a Post-2015 Development Agenda that is truly transformative, people-centered, and focused on the most marginalized. To make good on those commitments, safeguarding the human right to water and sanitation is essential. This crosscutting issue will affect the realization of a wide range of Sustainable Development Goals, from education to poverty eradication to empowerment of women and girls.
We commend Member States for naming the human right to water in the Chapeau of the outcome document of the Open Working Group. Now, the human right to water and sanitation must be included in the Declaration of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. We renew the earlier call of nearly 300 organizations of the global water justice movement to ensure that the human right to water and sanitation be made explicit and realized in the SDGs and the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
Placing the human right to water and sanitation in the Declaration gives it needed political recognition and prominence. It ensures that this human right will not be ignored or undermined in the critical Post-2015 Development Agenda.
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