January 18, 2021

MGA Welcomes Collaboration with Newly Appointed Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation

Mr. Pedro Arrojo-Agudo, was appointed the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation on November 1st, 2020.

In December, Mr. Pedro Arrojo-Agudo hosted a public consultation online to begin an open dialogue with civil society partners and discuss his mandate. In his consultation, Mr. Arrojo-Agudo highlighted the activities and priorities of the first three years of the mandate. He plans to spotlight the triple global crisis: climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic and democratic governance; all of which pose important challenges to the implementation of the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation. The Special Rapporteur hopes for his second report to be on the human rights to water and sanitation for indigenous people.

As Special Rapporteur, Mr Pedro Arrojo Agudo will focus on the following issues to promote the human rights to water and sanitation:

  • Women defenders of the human rights to water and sanitation. Women are active promoters of water, not just victims. In his consultation, Mr. Arrojo-Agudo emphasized how it is essential to develop the gender vision developed by UN Women on water and sanitation projects and programmes.
  • Human rights to water and sanitation of indigenous peoples
  • Water-related conflicts and safety of human rights defenders
  • Rural sanitation
  • Strengthening links between Human Rights Council mechanisms, social movements and municipalities
  • Commodification of water and privatization of services and making the links to food sustainability

As discussed in his consultation, the Special Rapporteur aims to appeal for global solidarity. The pandemic is leaving a lot of pain but is also providing lessons to learn, uncovering the vulnerabilities of humans and the systems we have created. There is a broad consensus that we need to strengthen our public health systems where water and sanitation are vital needs to guarantee health for all.

Mr Arrojo-Agudo articulated his admiration for the work of faith-based organizations and the ethical commitment of Pope Francis. The Special Rapporteur aims to promote and activate a permanent dialogue with the existing civil society networks on the various fronts of work and struggles, as well as with local governments and organizations that work specifically to strengthen the capacities of the local governments.

As Mr Arrojo-Agudo begins his mandate, Mercy Global Action looks forward to future collaboration with the Special Rapporteur as we advocate together for the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation for all.

Ways to engage:

  • Contribute to the Special Rapporteur’s mailbox for reporting and monitoring of water cuts to households in vulnerable situations in the world. This is an opportunity to share both challenges and best practices (see: https://linktr.ee/srwatsan )
  • Engage with the Special Rapporteur from February 2021 and onward as he plans to implement an open, permanent and regular channel of dialogue with the public.
  • Advocate globally for World Water Day, on 22 March 2021. UN Water will be using the slogan #water2me, which is intended to open a broad debate on the values of water - environmental values, social, cultural, health, economic, territorial structuring, identity, among others (see: https://linktr.ee/srwatsan_water2me )

Messages to: Colleen Swain - Leadership Development and Advocacy Associate MIA-MGA

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