Delegation of the European Union to the
UN and other international organisations in Geneva

HRC 45 - EU Intervention: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on water and sanitation

Geneva, 16/09/2020 - 00:00, UNIQUE ID: 200917_2
Statements on behalf of the EU

Thank you, Madame President,

Mr. Special Rapporteur, the EU welcomes you to your last interactive dialogue with this Council. We wish to thank you for your extraordinary work to promote the rights to safe drinking water and sanitation. Your reports have informed this Council as well as the General Assembly and thereby contributed to further develop these rights.

As we are expecting an incoming Special Rapporteur, we are also celebrating the tenth anniversary of resolution 64/292 that explicitly recognized the rights to safe drinking water and sanitation. Furthermore, we are five years into the implementation of Agenda 2030, including its Goal 6 on water, sanitation and hygiene, including menstrual health and hygiene.

While there has been remarkable progress in the realization of both rights across different countries and regions, a lot remains to be done and new challenges threaten the progress that was achieved.

Water resources worldwide are under increasing pressure due to population growth, overuse, pollution and climate change. At the same time, inequality exacerbates water problems, as many people do not have access to safe water resources. Water crises are among the top-five global risks by severity of impact in the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report. In today’s world 2 out of 5, especially vulnerable people, don’t have access to a basic hand-washing facility with water and soap. This means they cannot wash their hands regularly, as it is recommended especially during pandemic times.

Mr. Special Rapporteur, what is the best way for the international community and the UN to bring the human rights to water and sanitation, including hygiene, into the COVID-19 response?

Thank you Madame President.

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