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Making the rights to water and sanitation real

22 November 2016

man at water tank

Resources have been developed to help local government officials become the real ‘heroes’ who deliver on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation.

Access to safe drinking water and sanitation has been recognised as a basic human right by the United Nations through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, for the local government agencies that play a pivotal role in ensuring everyone has access to these services, the notion of ‘human rights’ can seem abstract, especially when they are faced with limited financial and human resources

Many governments also have a tendency to invest in new infrastructure rather than the maintenance of the many critical components that sustain water and sanitation services in the long term.

So incremental and practical solutions are needed to help governments around the world meet the challenges associated with providing equitable and universal access to water and sanitation.

New guidance materials that show local government officials how they can help realise the rights to safe drinking water and sanitation have been developed by ISF together with partner organisations WaterAid, WASH United, End Water Poverty, UNICEF and the Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN), through the ‘Making the Rights Real’ project

The new materials include a fold-out guide that shows how local government officials can apply human rights principles to their day-to-day work, and how these principles can help them make the best use of limited resources and prioritise reaching the poorest . The guide is linked to two complementary materials – a manual and a poster. These provide additional more in-depth information on how to implement the rights. Together, these materials outline how to plan by setting targets and carrying out analysis, collaborating and seeking commitment from relevant parties, and monitoring services on an ongoing basis. 

The materials will be launched at the 7th RWSN Forum in Cote d’Ivoire from 29 November – 2 December. This forum will explore the practicalities of delivering the UN Sustainable Development Goals 6 and the Human Right to Water in rural areas and small towns. Follow #Makingrightsreal for news on when the materials will be available to download.

Partner organisations in this project also collaborated on a paper titled ‘Achieving universal and equitable access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for all – practitioner perspectives and perceptions’, which will be presented at the RWSN forum.