Right to water: ten years later, the urgency to take action!

Published on Thursday 23 July 2020

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Ten years after the United Nations recognized the human right to water and sanitation, the Covid-19 pandemic that has been severely hitting the world for months, recalls the urgency to fight for a universal and fair access to these vital services. In many countries, including France, sanitary facilities are still insufficient to enable the most vulnerable to protect themselves against pandemics as well as other diseases related to unclean water.

Check the 2020 Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Barometer

In face of the Covid-19 pandemic, awareness messages about preventive measures, especially hand washing, have increased in the last months. But simply washing hands is far from being easy to everyone. 2.2 billion human beings across the world still do not have access to domestic water services. In these conditions, how can one protect oneself effectively from the spread of the virus?

This assessment is especially true in countries facing crises (wars, natural disasters, epidemics…) where the access to infrastructures and hygiene products is limited, defective or hampered. But it is also true in France where 1.4 million people still do not have access to safe water.

SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL is used to taking action in situations of crisis and has therefore opened a mission in France since march 2020 towards the most vulnerable populations, weakened by the Covid-19 crisis and the national lockdown, in order to bring aid regarding water and hygiene.

Now more than ever, this unprecedented sanitary crisis must raise awareness among the public opinion and international leaders about the urgency to take action in favor of a universal and fair access to water and sanitation. As such, the 10 years of the UN’s recognition of human rights to water and sanitation – taking place on July 28th, 2020 – must be the opportunity to remind the world of the importance of this vital humanitarian work..

That is why SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL is aiming to contribute actively to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals #3 and #6, regarding health, water and sanitation, especially in difficult contexts. Therefore, the NGO calls on everyone to sign its manifesto for an effective and unconditional access to safe water and sanitation for all human beings.

Insufficient progress and inequality

Every year since 2015, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL has released a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Barometer. In 2020, figures show that there is some progress but that it is insufficient and that inequalities keep widening. The current path will not make it possible to achieve the 6th Sustainable Development Goal regarding access to water, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa where the population is bound to double within 30 years. In total, 2.6 million people worldwide, mostly children, still die every year of diseases related to unsafe water.

If nothing is done to remedy this path, the most vulnerable populations will keep being the victim of waterborne diseases such as cholera -though this disease is preventable and has disappeared from many countries- but also of news epidemics, such as Covid-19, that are threatening and might still threaten the entire world in the future.

Active in eighteen countries across the world, SOLIDARITES INTERNATIONAL fights every day to allow the most vulnerable populations to access water and sanitation ; and leads awareness campaigns about hygiene and hand washing which are essential to fight against the ravages of waterborne diseases and epidemics.

Ten years after its recognition, the Human Right to Water and Sanitation must become a reality to everyone. No one should be left out!

Check the 2020 Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Barometer

Press contact
Chloé DEMOULIN – 07 85 42 56 99 – presse@solidarites.org
Website: solidarites.org/en

Twitter: @Solidarites_Int – Instagram: @solidaritesinternational


© Vincent Ghilione

Translated by Clara COHEN