Handbook

Realising the human rights to water and sanitation: A handbook

The first UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, Catarina de Albuquerque, is very proud to present her publication: Realising the human rights to water and sanitation: A handbook

This Handbook is the product of six years of work by Catarina de Albuquerque on the human rights to water and sanitation. It explains the meaning and legal obligations that arise from these rights, translating the often complex technical and legal language into accessible information.

This Handbook has been developed to:

  • clarify the meaning of the human rights to water and sanitation;
  • explain the obligations that arise from these rights;
  • provide guidance on implementing the human rights to water and sanitation;
  • share some examples of good practice and show how these rights are being implemented;
  • explore how States can be held to account for delivering on their obligations; and
  • provide its users with checklists, so they can assess how far they are complying with the human rights to water and sanitation.

The target audiences for this Handbook are governments at all levels, donors and national regulatory bodies. It provides information that will also be useful to other local, regional and international stakeholders, including civil society, service providers and human rights organisations.

The Handbook is presented in nine booklets, each of which addresses a particular area of activity:

Booklets 2-7 contain checklists for the State and other actors to assess whether the State is complying with the requirements of the human rights to water and sanitation.

The Handbook is currently available in English, Arabic, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

 

Booklet 1: Introduction

Please click the link below to download a PDF version:

pdf_icon Booklet 1. Introduction

Language versions: Français / Español / Português / Arabic

The introduction outlines the purpose of the Handbook as well as providing a summary of the principles and legal content of the human rights to water and sanitation.

Table of contents

  1. What is the Handbook for realising the human rights to water and sanitation?
  2. Introduction to the structure of the Handbook
  3. The legal foundations and recognition of the human rights to water and sanitation
  4. State obligations in realising the human rights to water and sanitation
  5. Human rights principles as they relate to the human rights to water and sanitation
  6. The content of the human rights to water and sanitation
  7. Links between the human rights to water and sanitation and other human rights
  8. Focus of this Handbook
  9. Glossary of human rights terms

 

Booklet 2: Frameworks

Please click the link below to download a PDF version:2

pdf_icon Booklet 2. Frameworks

Language versions: Français / Español / Português / Arabic

This booklet discusses how the human rights to water and sanitation can be integrated into the national legislative, regulatory and policy frameworks, exploring the importance of constitutions, laws, regulations and policies for realising these human rights.

Table of contents

  1. The definition of the human rights to water and sanitation
  2. The relationship between international human rights law and national legal frameworks
  3. The status of the rights to water and sanitation in the national legal framework
  4. Human rights principles in the national legal framework
  5. The legal content of the human rights to water and sanitation as reflected in the national legal framework
  6. Checklist

 

Booklet 3: Financing

Please click the link below to download a PDF version:3

pdf_icon Booklet 3. Financing

Language versions: Français / Español / Português / Arabic

This booklet explores State obligations relating to how finances are raised to realise the human rights to water and sanitation, and then how these finances are allocated to the different aspects of realization of these rights. There is also a section on how budget allocations and expenditure is monitored by different State and non-State institutions.

Table of contents

1. Obligations from international law relating to financing and budgeting
2. The budget, budget cycle and budget actors

2.1 Formulation
2.2 Enactment
2.3 Executing the budget
2.4 Audit and monitoring

3. Checklist

 

Booklet 4: Services

Please click the link below to download a PDF version:4

pdf_icon Booklet 4. Services

Language versions: Français / Español / Português / Arabic

This booklet focuses on how services are delivered, and what needs to be considered in order to ensure that services are available, accessible, safe, affordable and acceptable. It discusses how States can ensure that services providers are working in a participatory manner, that they provide relevant information, that they are accountable, and that they act without discrimination. This booklet considers particular challenges such as service delivery in informal settlements, as well as disconnections, and non-State service provision.

Table of contents

  1. Planning
  2. Setting national and local standards and targets
  3. The challenges of delivering services in different situations
  4. Service providers
  5. Checklist

pdf_icon Poster 1. Integrating the rights to water and sanitation into the planning process

Language versions: EnglishFrançais / Español / Português / Arabic

pdf_icon Poster 2. Main roles and responsibilities when planning the delivery of services

Language versions: EnglishFrançais / Español / Português / Arabic

 

Booklet 5: Monitoring

Please click the link below to download a PDF version:5

pdf_icon Booklet 5. Monitoring

Language versions: Français / Español / Português / Arabic

Monitoring is essential to assessing whether States and other actors, including service providers, are complying with the human rights to water and sanitation; it is a prerequisite for holding States and other actors to account for violations or offences.

Table of contents

  1. Monitoring the human rights to water and sanitation
  2. Monitoring of national and local standards and targets
  3. Other national actors in monitoring the realisation of the human rights to water and sanitation
  4. The international frameworks for monitoring access to water and sanitation
  5. Checklist

 

Booklet 6: Justice

Please click the link below to download a PDF version:6

pdf_icon Booklet 6. Justice

Language versions: Français / Español / Português / Arabic

This booklet explores how States can be held accountable for the realisation of their obligations to realise the human rights to water and sanitation. It outlines the different mechanisms that are available and the conditions that must be in place to ensure that access to justice for violations of the human rights to water and sanitation are effective.

Table of contents

  1. What is access to justice?
  2. Mechanisms for access to justice
  3. Making access to justice effective
  4. Checklist

 

Booklet 7: Principles

Please click the link below to download a PDF version:7

pdf_icon Booklet 7. Principles

Language versions: Français / Español / Português / Arabic

Non-discrimination and equality, access to information, right to participation, and sustainability and non-retrogression are fundamental principles of the human rights framework and must be used to guide all aspects of the realisation of all human rights. This booklet provides the rationale and foundation of these principles and their relevance to water and sanitation. Each section of this booklet has its own checklist.

Table of contents

  1. Non-discrimination and equality
  2. Access to information
  3. Right to participation
  4. Sustainability and non-retrogression

 

Booklet 8: Checklists

Please click the link below to download a PDF version:8

pdf_icon Booklet 8. Checklists

Language versions: Français / Español / Português / Arabic

This booklet brings together the checklists for each of the booklets 2-7 as a helpful reference for State and other actors to check whether they have carried out the necessary activities to comply with the human rights to water and sanitation

  1. Frameworks (Legislative, regulatory and policy frameworks)
  2. Financing (Financing, budgeting and budget-tracking for the human rights to water and sanitation)
  3. Services (Planning processes, service providers, service levels and settlements)
  4. Monitoring (Monitoring for compliance with the human rights to water and sanitation
  5. Justice (Access to justice for violations of the human rights to water and sanitation)
  6. Principles (Principles: Non-discrimination, equality, information, participation, sustainability)

 

Booklet 9: Sources

Please click the link below to download a PDF version:9

pdf_icon Booklet 9. Sources

Language versions: Français / Español / Português / Arabic

This booklet provides a short glossary of human rights terms, a bibliography that is organised according to the areas of activity identified in the different booklets and a full index.