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Media Statement: Towards a Case Base Approach to Human Right to Water and Water Quality (World Water Week)

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Stockholm, September 09, 2010 (ILR). ACCRA, BothENDS, Swedish Water House, UNESCO Etxea, WaterLex and the UNDP Water Governance Programme convened a seminar at the World Water Week, Stockholm, September 09, 2010. The presenters explains the potentials of Human Rights Based Approach to Integrated Water Resources Management.

On the media statement received by ILR, the conveners stresses the importance of  stakeholders involvement in ensuring the realization of the Human Right to Water.  According to the Press Release:

A key element of the human right to water is the water quality prerequisite that water used for personal or domestic uses should be – among other things - free from micro-organisms and chemical contaminants that constitute a threat to individual health, thus embracing the work of professionals working in the realm of water quality and Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM). At the same time, even in the context of conflicting and competing demands on water resources, human rights law is clear in determining that water for personal and domestic uses, i.e. for realising the right to water, has priority in relation to other water uses.

In this side event, we will demonstrate the validity of a number of principles. First of all, the Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA) provides a useful and comprehensive framework from which to analyse water and sanitation issues and holds the potential to support and strengthen the Millennium Development Goal approach. In other words, while the concept of the ’right to water’ requires a focus on law, it is not just an effort to define normative standards (cf. World Health Organization quality standards), it is also about procedural rights, which ought to be clarified and illustrated so as to demonstrate how the realisation of rights should be managed in practice. Furthermore, the actual realisation of these rights is dependent on the governance structure and the quality of interactions between the state and civil society against the background of each particular social, political and economic setting.

Secondly, it is therefore of key importance to continue to promote national case studies that serve to highlight the key areas in which the implementation of the right to water and sanitation can be improved in each setting through a HRBA.

Universitas Ibn Khaldun Bogor, Indonesia, endorses the case-base approach to HRBA. It offers support in the form of expertise, networking and grass-root empowerment for the HRBA case studies. In its endorsement letter, the University Rector Prof. Dr.  H. Ramly Hutabarat, SH., MHum pointed that application of IWRM in Indonesia would require tremendous investment in the form of knowledge and financial resources. IWRM has large potentials in improving the quality of Indonesia’s water resources. However, there are always possibilities that those with less capacity and bargaining power to participate in IWRM processes would be left out. The Rector suggests that HRBA would be necessary to empower stakeholders in the decision making process of IWRM.