Good news!!! Just yesterday, the UN passes a resolution to make the right to water and sanitation a human right. As I mentioned in my last post on the subject, this means that not having access to clean water and/or sanitation can be considered to be a violation of human rights — something that requires international action according to the UN Declaration on Human Rights.
According to Food and Water Watch, 122 states in the UN voted in favor of the resolution, and 41 abstained from voting on it.
The bad news in this, is that the US abstained from the vote. Water rights are still not a priority issue for the US, perhaps because it is something so removed from our experience. Whatever the reason is, there needs to be more work done on this issue to ensure that the next time water rights come up in the UN, the US does not abstain from the vote.
This resolution is non-binding, meaning that states are not required to take action yet. However, this movement is an important first step in making a binding resolution concerning the right to water and sanitation. 9 states have already included the right to water in their constitution. This is a growing movement, one that is essential to development, to human rights, to the environment, and to creating a more just and sustainable world. So while the passing of this resolution is just a small step in the long run, it is a tremendous small step that can lead to so much more!
Here’s a link from a BBC article that tells a little bit more about the resolution.