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

HRC 46 - Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on environment: EU Intervention

Geneva , 03/03/2021 - 17:31, UNIQUE ID: 210303_33
Statements on behalf of the EU

Mr Boyd,

Allow me to thank you on behalf of the EU for your report on Human rights and the global water crisis. We commend the excellent work you have been doing as special rapporteur since 2018, examining and clarifying obligations related to the right to a healthy environment throughout your reports.

As humans, we have the power to affect the environment in positive and negative ways. Where our impact is negative, the results can be catastrophic. Your report on Human rights and global water crisis examines numerous negative impacts of water pollution, water scarcity and water-related disasters on the enjoyment of many human rights, with disproportionate effects upon people belonging to vulnerable and marginalized groups, women and children. As you rightly point out in your report: although water covers most of the planet’s surface, the amount of accessible fresh water represents less than 1 per cent of the Earth’s water. Therefore the need to protect it becomes even more urgent, especially if we have in mind the current and expected impacts of climate change.

On the other hand you also elaborate on several examples of good practices in making progress towards safe, sufficient water and healthy freshwater ecosystems. In legislation and practice, the EU and its Member States provide for some of the highest environmental standards. We continue doing more and we also believe that transformative steps by all UN member states are also needed to secure a healthy environment worldwide.

Mr Boyd, in your report you mentioned a seven-step process for States to employ a rights-based approach to water governance, as well as recommendations for actions. Could you please further elaborate on this approach to water governance described in the report?

I thank yo