Note on… the right to water and the GA Resolution

August 26, 2010

By Mulugeta M Ayalew, Research Fellow at the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC), UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)

Recently the General Assembly of the United Nations has adopted (122 in favour and 41 abstentions with no vote against) a resolution which recognised access to clean water and sanitation as a human right.

By doing so, it acknowledged “that safe, clean drinking water and sanitation were integral to the realization of all human rights”. It noted in particular the more than 800 million people without access to improved and sustainable drinking water and a lot more than that suffering from lack of access to sanitation.

It also noted that 3 million children with less than 5 years old die each year because of water and sanitation-related diseases.

The resolution calls on “states and international organizations to provide financial resources, build capacity and transfer technology, particular to developing countries, in scaling up efforts to provide safe, clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation for all” Egypt voted for the resolution. Ethiopia and Kenya, among others, abstained. Representative of Ethiopia however spoke of the ‘natural right to water’ and abstained because the resolution does not contain any reference to the sovereign rights of states to natural resources […]

[The full original post available here]

Mulugeta submitted a doctoral thesis in 2011 (University of Surrey) on the legal frameworks for regulation of water suppliers in Ethiopia and Kenya. Before beeing involved in teaching law (Mekelle University, Ethiopia and University of Surrey, UK) Mulugeta studied law and economics (EMLE) in the universities of Manchester, Ghent and Rotterdam, and studied European and comparative law in the University of Ghent. Mulugeta’s posts do not reflect the position of his employer.

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