PSI congratulates the government of Bolivia, the civil society activists and the trade unions who campaigned to pass the resolution on the right to water and sanitation in the United Nations General Assembly on 28 July 2010. This resolution clearly shows that water and sanitation are inherently political concerns, not just about business opportunities.
Public service workers and their unions in the PSI family have been leading the fight for the past 15 years to strengthen the ability of workers and citizens to advocate for quality public services for all. The struggle within the UN system for recognition and implementation of the formal human right to water is an important part of this global campaign, and is being led by the Council of Canadians/Blue Planet Project. PSI is proud to be associated with this effort.
Although non-binding, this new resolution points clearly to the urgent need for the UN system (including national governments) to get its act in order. While we await further negotiations and the long process of drafting the final legal texts that will be required to enshrine the right to water as an enforceable human right – millions of people continue to suffer loss of life, dignity, and opportunity. Lack of access to adequate, safe and reliable water and sanitation is a violation of almost every human right.
Access to water and sanitation would largely be solved if we put the same amount of money and political will as we did in bailing out the banks and other financial institutions over the past couple of years. And I won’t even begin to talk about the military budgets…
The Resolution endorsed by the UN General Assembly on 28 July 2010 takes us one further step in this direction, but it is not enough. We call on the various UN agencies, the development banks, the donor agencies and national and local governments to join us in ensuring quality public water and sanitation services for all.