Opening Remarks by Ambassador Jürgen Schulz at Side-Event on Human Rights to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation

Oct 23, 2017

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Colleagues,

Water is the essence of life. Access to safe drinking water and sanitation defines civilization and is indispensable to sustain life and health. But 12% of the global population still lacks even basic drinking water service, and 32% of the global population lacks even basic sanitation services. These numbers are more than just statistics; they highlight the dimension of a problem that affects the daily lives of millions. Until we have succeeded in providing every human being with access to safe drinking water and sanitation, we have not ensured their human rights.

States made a clear commitment to solving this problem when they adopted the 2030 Agenda. Goal 6 of the Agenda explicitly seeks to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030, including through targets such as “universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water” and “access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene” for all. To achieve these goals, the international community must concentrate its efforts on realizing the human rights to drinking water and sanitation.

For this reason, Germany and Spain are again presenting a draft resolution this year on “The human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation.” The fact that the previous 2015 resolution was supported by an impressive 95 cosponsors attests to the broad support which this initiative enjoys.

Today's event is an excellent time to reflect on our progress with achieving the sustainable development goals related to water and sanitation, discuss best practices and find ways to overcome the challenges to implementing them. Last but not least, I would like to express my gratitude to Spain and Brazil for co-hosting this event with us and thank our distinguished panelists for being here today. I would also like to thank Special Rapporteur Léo Heller for all his hard work on this important mandate.

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