Resources

1. Right to Water in legislation
2. Advocacy guides
3. The human rights-based approach to water and sanitation
4. Country and regional case studies
5. UN Special Rapporteur
6. Progress on providing universal access
7. Other resources


1. Right to Water in legislation

Recognition of the human rights to water and sanitation by UN Member States at international level

Amnesty International and WASH United, 2015 – Download in English

All UN Member States have recognised that the human right to water and the human right to sanitation are part of binding international law. This publication gives an overview of the most important resolutions and declarations, including the positions countries have taken.

The Human Rights to Water and Sanitation in courts worldwide

WASH United and WaterLex, 2015Download in English

This publication is a useful tool for judges, lawyers and those advocating for these rights. It should prove essential for crafting legal complaints that better ensure accountability for violations of the HRWS and achieving effective remedies for those suffering such violations.

The Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation in Law and Policy – A Sourcebook

WASH United, Freshwater Action Network and WaterLex, 2012 – Download in English

This sourcebook provides a broad overview of laws and policies guranteeing the human rights to water and sanitation at the national, regional and international level.

Protect, Respect and Remedy: A Framework for Business and Human Rights, Special Representative of the Secretary General on the Issue of Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises

John Ruggie, UN, 2008Download in English

This report sets out the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. These principles were endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011 and serve as a global standard for preventing and addressing the risk of adverse impacts on human rights linked to business activity. Since water is an important resource for many businesses, they are relevant also to the human rights to water and sanitation. The framework contains three core principles: The duty of states to protect against human rights abuses; the corporate responsibility to respect human rights; and the need for more effective access to remedies.

Manual on the Right to Water and Sanitation

COHRE, Geneva, 2008 – Download in English

The Manual demonstrates that implementing the human rights to water and sanitation is not limited to legal recognition or allocation of funds. It provides the basis for political reforms in many areas of water supply and sanitation and in water resource management. As such, this Manual can help make the water and sanitation sector operate in a more pro-poor, accountable and inclusive manner. Even though much has changed since 2008, the guidance in this Manual is still up to date and helpful for practitioners.

2. Advocacy guides

Budget Advocacy for the Water and Sanitation Sector in Nepal: A Primer for Civil Society Organisations

WaterAid, 2010 – Download in English

Intends to enhance the capacity of civil society groups to dig into the details of government budget and use their analyses to influence budgets in favour of the poor and marginalised. Takes an evidence-based approach to activism in order to improve access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation across the world.

Advocating for Change

WaterAid, 2009 – Download in English

A brief guide to the four cornerstones of advocacy: International Change, National Engagement, Regional Coordination and Community Action.

Advocacy – What’s it all about? A Guide to Advocacy Work in the Water and Sanitation Sector

WaterAid, September, 2007 – Download in English

A quick introduction to advocacy in all its forms. The Advocacy Sourcebook aims to educate and inform on all aspects of planning and carrying out actions that seek to change policy, attitudes and practice in favour of the poor.

Our Water, Our Waste, Our Town: Supporting Civil Society to Engage in Urban Water and Sanitation Reforms – A Guidance Manual

WaterAid, 2007 – Download in English

This manual is based on real-life case studies and the authors’ experiences of working with civil society organisations (CSOs) on urban water and sanitation reforms. It provides technical information alongside advocacy and policy guidance on selected urban water supply issues and discussions on urban sanitation.

3. The human rights-based approach to water and sanitation

Applying a Human Rights Based Approach to Development Cooperation and Programming

UNDP, 2006 – Download in English

This resource explains why and how human rights are central to human development. It was designed to enhance the effectiveness of the work of the UN system and its partners by applying a human rights-based approach through a focus on equality and non-discrimination, accountability, justice and transparency as the core of human development results through a focus enable the UN system and its partners to apply a human rights-based approach to development. As such, this document is also a useful resource for practitioners in the water and sanitation sector who want to understand and use a human right-based approach in their work.

The Costs of Meeting the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal Targets on Drinking Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene

World Bank, 2016 – Download in English

This study provides an assessment of the global costs of meeting the WASH-related targets of Sustainable Development Goal #6. The estimates include 140 countries, or 85% of the world’s population, focusing on developing countries. Costs estimated cover those of capital investment, program delivery, operations, and major capital maintenance.

4. Country and regional case studies

Right to Water in India: Privileging water for basic needs

Forum for Policy Dialogue on Water Conflicts in India, 2015 – Download in English

This paper explains the legal context for the human right to water in India, taking into account the Constitution, statutes and international human rights instruments. Please note that the paper, while focusing on water for personal and domestic use, supports an expansive interpretation of the right to water to include water for livelihood and other needs that the organisations maintaining this website do not share.

Dalit and Right to Sanitation

Forum for Policy Dialogue on Water Conflicts in India, Sanitation is Our Right, 2015 – Download in English

Human rights are primarily rights that enable a person to live life with dignity. Access to adequate sanitation is closely related to human dignity in a manner that is obvious and experienced daily by the millions who are excluded from being able to access sanitation facilities. Dalits are in a unique position to define and demand the right to sanitation, as discrimination often prevents them from using facilities even when they exist

Right to Sanitation: A Gender Perspective

Forum for Policy Dialogue on Water Conflicts in India, 2015 – Download in English

This paper looks at the gender perspective of the right to sanitation, with particular reference to India. In a majority of societies, women have the primary responsibility for management of household water needs, sanitation and hygiene, socialising children into the use of latrines and providing health & hygiene education. Lack of services accentuates these tasks and adds health and security concerns that are gender specific.

The African Regional Human Rights System

PWESCR – Programme on Women’s Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 2015 – Download in English

The publication includes the background and origins of the regional human rights mechanisms. It elaborates the normative framework and rights recognised in the regional human rights treaties in Africa. It also focuses on how to use these monitoring and enforcement mechanisms and some of the challenges faced in doing so. This is a learning tool for human rights, especially for trainers interested in conducting training on African regional mechanisms. With a focus also on civil society engagement in the African regional human rights system, the publication provides useful insights at a practical level.

Enforcing the Human Right to Water – Lessons Learnt from Working with the Conet Community in La Matanza, Argentina

COHRE and Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS), 2008 – Download in Spanish

A case study of the implementation of the right to water in La Matanza, Argentina

Hostage to Politics – The Impact of Sanctions and the Blockade on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation in Gaza

COHRE, 2008 – Download in English

The Gaza Strip is currently undergoing a humanitarian crisis, which includes the widespread denial of economic, social and cultural rights. This paper describes violations of the human right to water and sanitation in Gaza that have been caused or exacerbated by the sanctions and blockade in the period from January 2006 to the time of writing in 2008.

Case Studies on Efforts to Implement the Right to Water and Sanitation in Urban Areas

Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) Working paper for UN-HABITAT, 2008 – Download in English

Documents and evaluates attempts to implement the right to water and sanitation in urban water and sanitation services in Brazil, Kenya, South Africa and Sri Lanka. Each case study includes a description of national and municipal legislation, policies and institutions that have been put in place to implement the right to water and sanitation in urban areas; and an evaluation of the results of such initiatives, together with lessons learnt.

Rapid Assessment Report of the Water and Sanitation Situation within Informal Settlements in Nairobi

Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE), 2008 – Download in English

Details the particular impacts the post election crisis of 2008 had on access to water and sanitation for the population living within informal settlements by analysing monitoring forms completed by 53 active community members and leaders from settlements throughout Nairobi.

Uganda Country Mapping: The Status of Implementation and Monitoring of the Human Right to Water and Sanitation

WaterLex, 2015 – Download in English

This one-year research was undertaken to establish the status of implementation and monitoring of the human right to water and sanitation in Uganda, in order to provide support for increased alignment of the legal framework, key sector policy frameworks, implementation and monitoring strategies, with the existing human rights commitments of the government.

5. UN Special Rapporteur

The UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation is an independent expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to examine and report on the human rights to water and sanitation. Léo Heller is the second Special Rapporteur on the rights to water and sanitation, following Catarina de Albuquerque. The Special Rapporteur reports on particular issues of concern related to the rights to water and sanitation twice a year – to the UN Human Rights Council and the General Assembly – and undertakes country missions. All thematic and country reports are available in all UN languages are an important resource for the interpretation of the human rights to water and sanitation.

Thematic and country reports are can be accessed here.

Legal Obligations with Tangible Benefits on the Rights to Water and Sanitation

A conversation between the Special Rapporteur on the human right to water and sanitation and different stakeholders including state representatives, development practitioners, individuals and NGO representatives

Download in English / French / Spanish

Eliminating Inequalities: Towards a Post-2015 Development Agenda

A one-page factsheet on how to achieve the post-2015 development agenda

Download in English

Book on Good Practices in the Realisation of the Rights to Water and Sanitation

“…offers solutions, ideas and pragmatic examples of legislation, policies, programmes, advocacy approaches and accountability mechanisms to demonstrate how the rights (of water and sanitation) are becoming a reality for the excluded, forgotten and voiceless.” – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Download in English / French / Spanish

6. Progress on providing universal access guides

Progress on sanitation and drinking water: 2015 update and MDG assessment

WHO, UNICEF – Download in English

As the MDGs come to a close, this report shows the progress against the parameters specified in the MDG target for water and sanitation. It also highlights how far the world still has to go, especially on sanitation, inequalities, the gender burden of water collection and the persistent exclusion of the poor from water and sanitation services

JMP Snapshot of Progress – 2014 update

WHO, UNICEF, 2014 – Download in English

A visual representation of the progress in achieving access to water and sanitation across the world.

A Snapshot of Sanitation and Drinking Water in the Eastern Mediterranean

WHO, UNICEF, 2014 – Download in English

A visual representation of the progress towards the UN Millennium Development Goas in the following countries: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, West Bank and Gaza Strip, Yemen.

A Snapshot of Drinking Water and Sanitation in Africa – 2012 Update

WHO, UNICEF – Download in English

A highly visual tool for understanding the progress made up to 2012 in achieving access to drinking water and sanitation in Africa. Get link?

WASH Post-2015: Proposed indicators for drinking water, sanitation and hygiene

WHO, UNICEF, 2015 – Download in English

This briefing note by JMP summarises proposed indicators for monitoring the drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) elements of the targets under Sustainable Development G 6. The proposed indicators include important human rights aspects, such as inequalities or affordability of services.

Investing in water and sanitation: Increasing access, reducing inequalities

UN-Water, WHO, Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water, GLAAS 2014 Report – Download in English

This report provides a global update on the policy frameworks, institutional arrangements, human resource base, and international and national finance streams in support of sanitation and drinking-water. It presents data from 94 countries, covering all MDG regions, and from 23 external support agencies, representing over 90% of official development assistance for sanitation and drinking-water.

The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015

United Nations, 2015 – Download in English

A goal-by-goal look at the Millennium Development Goals, including the progress that has been made and a reflection on the MDGs, looking ahead to the next fifteen years.

Monitoring Sanitation after 2015: Discussion Paper

World Bank Water and Sanitation Programme, Clarissa Brocklehurst, 2012 – Download in English

In preparation for the post-2015 development agenda, and in recognition of the fact that progress on sanitation under the MDGs was insufficient, the WHO, Unicef Joint Monitoring Programme on Sanitation and Drinking-Water led early discussions on the future of monitoring. This background discussion paper sets out the impact and the limitations of sanitation monitoring and includes an introduction to the value of human rights to monitoring.

HDR Beyond Water Scarcity: Power, Poverty and the Global Water Crisis

UNDP, 2006 – Download in English

The 2006 Human Development Report focused on the rights to water and sanitation and on how access to water and sanitation services would enable people to lead a life in dignity and realise their potential as human beings. Chapters include: Ending the crisis in water and sanitation, Water for human consumption, The vast deficit in sanitation, Water scarcity, risk and vulnerability, Water competition in agriculture and Managing transboundary waters.

7. Other resources

Taking the Bloody Linen Out of the Closet: Menstrual Hygiene as a Priority for Achieving Gender Equality

Inga Winkler and Virginia Roaf, Cardozo Journal of Law and Gender Vol. 21, Issue 1, 2015 – Download in English

This article explores challenges for menstrual hygiene at the practical and policy level. It examines how menstrual hygiene is situated in the human rights framework, in particular gender equality; how menstrual hygiene can be defined in human rights terms; and how using the framework of human rights and substantive equality may contribute to giving menstrual hygiene greater visibility and prioritising the development of appropriate strategies and solutions.

Water Governance Facility Issue Sheet

This explores the links between the Human Rights to water and sanitation and Water governance. It also outlines the WGF activities related to the topic.  Download in English.