Assembly demands 'right to water'

Delegates to the World Water Assembly in Brussels have called for water to be recognised as a basic right and control over it to be kept out of the hands of private enterprise.

Assembly demands 'right to water'

Delegates to the World Water Assembly in Brussels have called for water to berecognised as a basic right and control over it to be kept out of the hands ofprivate enterprise.

At a meeting ahead of World Water Day on Thursday,participants said water was increasingly becoming a source of strategic andeconomic conflict.

Abel Mamani, the Bolivian minister for water, said:"Access to fresh drinking water for everyone, in all our countries, is afundamental right. For us, water is life."

The annual meeting takes place to campaign for the 'right towater' and for water use to be controlled by the public sector.

"Establishing a right to water, therefore is anotherway of recognising the right to life already enshrined by the United Nations -recognise water as a human right," Mamani said.

Water shortages

The theme of this year's World Water Day is waterscarcity, a problem primarily driven by population explosion,chronic wastage and pollution.

The UN estimates that by 2025 two-thirds of theplanet's population will be living with economic, social, or environmentalproblems caused by water shortages.

North Africa, the Middle East and West Asia are expected to be among the worst afflicted regions.

Experts say global warming will also take its toll onsupplies.

A draft report by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel onClimate Change says a global temperature rise of 2C (3.8 F) by2100 would place up to two billion people in a position of"increased water scarcity".

A rise of 4C (7.2 F) would affect as many as 3.2 billion people, the draftcalculates.

In a message to the assembly, gathered at the Europeanparliament in the Belgian capital, Alfonso Pecoraro, the Italian environmentminister underlined the need to recognise this "semi-precious"resource as a "public good".

Public control

The assembly set the international recognition of the uniquestatus of water as its primary goal.

Riccardo Petrella from the World Water Contract group said:"Our target is December 10, 2008 - the 60th anniversary of the UniversalDeclaration of Human Rights - for the UN's human rights council to recognisewater as a human right."

Petrella that water "is essential for all forms oflife" and called for public service providers to unite and bring an end toits "marketing".

"Public water suppliers account for 80 per cent ofworld water supplies and they are letting the private sector, which controls 20per cent, call the shots," he told the assembly, which met over three daysand ended on Wednesday.

The World Water Assembly estimated that it would cost"less than 50 billion euros [$66bn dollars] per year" to provide theessential 50 litres of water per day "to each of the 1.2 billion humanswho do not have it".

It plans to set its demands in a letter to heads ofstate, governments and the United Nations in an effort to convince them ofthe need to establish access to water as a new "human right".

The World Water Assembly for Citizens and Elected Peopledescribes itself as a group of elected representatives, civil societyorganisations, trade unions and citizens dedicated to water-related issues.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16