Water redefined as a human right

"Water is fundamental for life and health. The human right to water is indispensable for leading a healthy life in human dignity. It is a pre–requisite to the realization of all other rights." This statement is from a "General Comment" issued on 27 November by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights. A General Comment is an interpretation of the provisions of the International Covenant concerning these rights. This one obliges the 145 countries that have ratified the Covenant to "move expeditiously and effectively towards the full realization of the right to water".

The significance of the General Comment is that it provides civil society with a means of holding governments accountable for fulfilling their obligations in this respect. At the same time, it provides a framework for governments to use in formulating policy and strategies for public health.

World Health Organization Genebra - Genebra - Switzerland
E-mail: bulletin@who.int