Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Water Should Be A Human Right, Experts Argue

Date:
June 29, 2009
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Experts argue that -- despite recent international objections -- access to clean water should be recognized as a human right. At the March 2009 United Nations meetings, coinciding with the World Water Forum, Canada, Russia and the United States refused to support a declaration that would recognize water as a basic human right. But this flies in the face of considerable evidence that access to water, which is essential for health, is under threat, argue the editors of PLoS Medicine.

In this months PLoS Medicine Editorial, the editors argue that—despite recent international objections— access to clean water should be recognised as a human right.

At the March 2009 United Nations (UN) meetings, coinciding with the World Water Forum, Canada, Russia, and the United States refused to support a declaration that would recognize water as a basic human right. But this flies in the face of considerable evidence that access to water, which is essential for health, is under threat, argue the editors. According to the World Health Organization, 1.2 billion people worldwide do not have access to clean drinking water, and a further 2.6 billion lack adequate sanitation services, and these numbers are expected to rise. The UN has estimated that 2.8 billion people in 48 countries will be living in conditions of water stress or scarcity by 2025.

Three reasons are outlined for why access to clean water should be declared a basic human right. Firstly, access to clean water can substantially reduce the global burden disease caused by water-borne infections. Millions of people are affected each year by a range of water-borne diseases including diarrhea, which is responsible for 1.8 million potentially preventable deaths per year, mostly among children under the age of five. Secondly, the privatization of water—as witnessed in Bolivia, Ghana and other countries—has not effectively served the poor, who suffer the most from lack of access to clean water. As Maude Barlow, senior advisor on water issues to the president of the General Assembly of the UN, has argued, "high water rates, cut-offs to the poor, reduced services, broken promises and pollution have been the legacy of privatization."

Thirdly, the prospect of global water scarcity—exacerbated by climate change, industrial pollution, and population growth—means that no country is immune to a water crisis. The United States is facing the greatest water shortages of its history, and in Australia severe drought has caused dangerous water shortages in the Murray-Darling river basin, which provides the bulk of its food supply.

A human rights framework, argue the Editors, offers what the water situation needs—international recognition from which concerted action and targeted funding could flow; guaranteed standards against which the protected legal right to water could be monitored; and accountability mechanisms that could empower communities to advocate and lobby their governments to ensure that water is safe, affordable, and accessible to everyone.

The authors are each paid a salary by the Public Library of Science, and they wrote this editorial during their salaried time.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. The PLoS Medicine Editors. Clean Water Should Be Recognized as a Human Right. PLoS Med, 6(6): e1000102 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000102

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Water Should Be A Human Right, Experts Argue." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090629211809.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2009, June 29). Water Should Be A Human Right, Experts Argue. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090629211809.htm
Public Library of Science. "Water Should Be A Human Right, Experts Argue." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090629211809.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins