Mar 31, 2011

SIWI Applauds Swedish Support for Right to Clean Water

Sweden announced support of UN resolution passed last week

Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) announced its support for Sweden’s decision to stand behind the resolution on the right to safe drinking water and sanitation that the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted anonymously last week.

The lack of water and safe sanitation yearly reaps 2.4 million human lives that could easily have been saved. The UN has clearly stated for several years that the lack of access to water and sanitation presents an obstacle to an adequate standard of living in accordance with human rights.

"The fact that access to safe drinking water and sanitation now is seen as a human right will not change the situation overnight, but it is an important tool and a step in the right direction to start settling the problem," said Ander Berntell, executive director of SIWI.

By renewing and upgrading the mandate for a UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, the resolution shows that this human right has the same status as other human rights. The fact that Sweden stands behind the resolution can also be seen as a success for a range of Swedish civil society organizations that have worked with the issue, such as the framework of the Swedish Water House cluster group on water and rights.