General Assembly/3C: Statement by Ambassador Wittig on Human Right to Water and Sanitation

Oct 31, 2013

(as delivered:)

"Thank you Chair,

I have the honor to introduce Resolution A/C.3/68/L.34, on the human right to water and sanitation. This resolution is a common endeavor by Spain and Germany. We have already held seven open consultations with interested member states. We thank all delegations for their active engagement and their constructive approach so far. We hope that this positive approach will continue and that we will be able to adopt this important resolution by consensus very soon.

Beyond the delegations which are named as initial cosponsors on the L-document, the following delegations have cosponsored the draft resolution: Costa Rica, Croatia, Estonia, Georgia, Greece and Poland.

Mr. President,

Access to safe drinking water and sanitation is essential to living a life in dignity and health. States have overwhelmingly affirmed their commitment to progressively realize the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation for their populations. But looking at the fulfilment of the MDG’s, where both access to safe drinking water and sanitation had taken a central place among the commitments, the target on sanitation remains one of the most off-track, as more than 2.5 billion people still do not have access to improved sanitation facilities.

This initiative aims at three specific goals. Let me elaborate on the first goal and then hand over to my colleague, the Ambassador of Spain, to elaborate on the other two goals. So this is a real team effort here today.

First, it is the firm belief of the main sponsors that the human right to water and sanitation entitles everyone, without discrimination, to have access to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic use, and to have physical and affordable access to sanitation, in all spheres of life, that is safe, hygienic, secure and acceptable and that provides privacy and ensures dignity. With regards to sanitation in particular, we wish to underline that acceptability by the user of sanitation solutions is of central importance. Personal sanitation is a highly sensitive issue in many societies and cultures, which need to be addressed adequately. We believe that this definition can guide States in designing and implementing measures to achieve access to water and sanitation for all. Wehope that even more States will join the 111 States who co-sponsored the Human Rights Council resolution containing this definition only last month.

Thank you."

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