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The challenge of incorporating the human right to water in the water and sanitation intervention models

The Water Group of the Spanish NGDO Coordinator (COGDE) prepared a workshop to look at different water intervention models in order to share approaches and experiences. The different organisations in this group accepted the human right to water and sanitation as a fundamental basis for their work.

The meeting was held in Madrid on 12th February with the aim of reflecting on how to effectively assume the human right to water and sanitation in the development cooperation interventions and the challenges involved.

They dealt with the currently prevailing management model, i.e. the community management model, performing a critical reflection on the progress and limitations of said model to guarantee the human right to water. They then dealt with the need for a jump in scale which works to work for the universal access to water for personal and domestic uses and guarantees the sustainability of the interventions.

They discussed the human rights approach as a conceptual framework and different field experiences were presented from Asia, Latin America and Africa. They emphasised the experiences in PROSALUS in Lima (Peru), where work is being performed to improve the communal sewer systems; the water bank in Ethiopia where Intermn Oxfam works; the integral water management project in Cuzco (Peru) by Manos Unidos and the irrigation system project in Hanoi (Vietnam) performed by the same organisation. Ingenieros Sin Fronteras (Engineering without Borders) presented its experiences in Tanzania and they also discussed different projects by Accin Contra el Hambre in Nicaragua y Guatemala.

The presented initiatives were used as a framework for the debate on the implementation of the human rights approach and the future challenges involved in applying the human right to water on different levels, stressing the challenges on the NGO level, strengthening the holders of rights and the holders of duties, the coordination between NGOs, improving gender equality and the inclusion of vulnerable groups and even using the framework offered by General Comment No. 15 for advocacy in emergency situations.

More information:

United Nations - Human Right to Water

Human Right to Water - General Comment No. 15

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With the support of
Bizkaiko Foru Aldundia / Diputación Foral de Bizkaia

Eusko Jaurlaritza / Gobierno Vasco