UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights to water and sanitation - upcoming report

22 Aug 2016

Pursuant to Human Rights Council Resolution 27/7 of 2014, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, Mr. Léo Heller, was mandated to work on identifying challenges and obstacles to the full realisation of the rights, as well as protection gaps, good practices and enabling factors. He was also asked to monitor the way in which the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation is being realised throughout the world.

The Special Rapporteur is elaborating a report on the subject of development cooperation and the human rights to water and sanitation. The report will be presented to the United Nations General Assembly in October 2016. He invited States, intergovernmental organisations, national and international non-governmental organisations, national human rights institutions, United Nations agencies and entities, academia and all other interested stakeholders to contribute their views and perspectives on this subject in writing through a questionnaire. This questionnaire and the responses received from these stakeholders can be consulted here.

The Special Rapporteur observes that development cooperation in the water and sanitation sectors should contribute to the realisation of the human rights, but does not always embody a human rights-based approach in practice. Among States’ and multilateral agencies’ obligations related to human rights, extra-territorial obligations are a key issue regarding international cooperation. In the report, the Special Rapporteur will map out and examine the various policies and processes that exist to provide development assistance in the water and sanitation sectors, and will provide guidance on how to ensure a human rights approach in development cooperation.

Based on this year’s report, the Special Rapporteur intends to continue research, analysis and discussions with donor agencies and States on where and how aid is directed and managed within a recipient State, and the necessary accountability mechanisms for all parties involved to assess human rights fulfilment. The Special Rapporteur intends to elaborate a report based on the continued research in 2017.