Access to Water
Making access to drinking water an effective right for all The members of the French Water Partnership support the 2010 United Nations General Assembly declaration which recognizes the right to drinking water and sanitation as a human right. Yet despite this declaration, this right is far from being a reality for all human beings. According to the WHO and UNICEF (JMP 2014 report), 1.8 billion people currently consume water contaminated by fecal matter. The question therefore remains as to how this right should be implemented, particularly as issues differ significantly between countries, and urban and rural areas.
The members of the French Water Partnership ask for :
• The effective implementation of the human right to drinking water
Above and beyond official recognition, the human right to drinking water must be implemented effectively by each State, in particular via the establishment of an appropriate legislative and regulatory framework, the interdependent sharing of costs so that prices are affordable for each category of users and user participation in water management.
• The involvement and reinforcement of local actors (local authorities, civil society and private operators) in the implementation of local public water services
The responsibilities of various public authorities, service managers and users should be specified. In order to be effective, their collaboration can be based on contractual agreements. A monitoring and regulation mechanism provided by the public authorities will be able to ensure good governance of services. In addition, the focus should be on cooperation among the different types of actors in the sector (public authorities, operators and users) and the effective involvement of citizens so as to enable a good management of water services.
• Mobilization of sustainable funding that meets the population’s needs
Access to drinking water is financed primarily by three types of funding (the 3 Ts) : tariffs, taxes and transfers. This type of funding can be completed through innovative means of financing coming from decentralized solidarity mechanisms (for instance the 1% solidarity mechanism as mentioned in the Oudin- Santini law in France) or other types of funding. Equalization payments aiming to balance the gaps between the richest and poorest populations can be envisioned so as to insure access to drinking water services for the poorest populations, at an affordable price.
• Improvement of monitoring databases for the sector
Monitoring indicators and systems must be improved in order to communicate the extent of real needs in terms of access to drinking water and ensure the effective follow-up and assessment of progress.