Water plays an important role in agriculture, health and combating poverty, therefore it can be deduced that it is essential for the full enjoyment of the right to life. Hence, in Agenda 21 of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), World Water day was formally proposed.
In recognition of the importance of peaceful and sustainable management and use of water resources, 2013 was declared as the International Year of Water Cooperation (IYWC) with the aim of achieving the UN’s Millennium Declaration Goal of “halving by the year 2015, the proportion of people who are unable to reach, or to afford safe drinking water.”
Similarly, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2018-2028 as the International Decade for Action - “Water for Sustainable Development”- to achieve agreed upon water-related goals and targets.
World Water Day, observed on the 22nd of March, highlights the need in ensuring equitable access to water, hygiene facilities and sanitation globally. It is important to highlight that the human right to water is essential to the realization of all human rights. This indicates that the provision of water and sanitation services are essential to ensuring poverty reduction, sustainable economic growth and human development.
According to the United Nations Global Report on Water Resources Development, 3.6 billion people in the world, approximately half of the world's population, live in areas where the population suffer water scarcity, at least once a month annually.
Moreover, due to various factors, including rapid population growth, migration, economic development and transformed consumption patterns, a water crisis is inevitable with the insurmountable stress placed on fresh water sources resulting in a physical scarcity of water and a shortage of safe drinking water.
Therefore, World Water Day provides the opportunity to raise public awareness on the link between social well-being and environmental health, critical water-related matters and inspire action.
Within that context, the Geneva Institute for Human Rights highly appreciates the great efforts and initiatives of various humanitarian organizations in providing water and sanitation services in rural areas, such as UNICEF.
On this day, the Institute stresses on the importance of the active participation of all key parties in national and international society to ensure the better management of water through the implementation of water saving techniques and strategies including drip irrigation and regulated deficit irrigation for regions with limited water resources.
Furthermore, acknowledging that fundamental human rights including the right to life and the right to health are heavily dependent on the provision of water that meets basic human needs in terms of quality and quantity, the Institute urges states to ensure the reflection of the human right to water in national and international legal obligations and responsibilities.
Finally, the Geneva Institute for Human Rights appeals to those in charge of managing the Nile Basin, in particular the States of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, to prioritize the sustainable socio-economic development through the equitable utilization of the Nile water resources.