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More than 20 countries challenge WWF declaration

Over twenty countries have officially challenged the Ministerial declaration released today at the World Water Forum, which defines water as a human need rather than a human right, through a counter-declaration.

Latin American states have played a key role in gathering signatures onto a declaration that recognizes access to water and sanitation as a human right and commits to all necessary action for the progressive implementation of this right.

The growing list currently includes (in alphabetical order): Bangladesh; Benin;  Bolivia; Chad; Chile; Cuba; Ecuador; Ethiopia; Guatemala; Honduras; Morocco; Namibia; Niger; Panama; Paraguay; South Africa; Spain; Sri Lanka; Uruguay; and Venezuela.

Switzerland has declared its support although a formal signature will take months to finalize.

In addition, nine countries have also signed onto a statement that calls on States to develop a global water forum within the framework of the United Nations based on the principles of democracy, full participation, equity, transparency and social inclusion.  This list currently includes: Benin; Bolivia; Chile; Cuba; Ecuador; Honduras; Panama; Paraguay; and Venezuela.

The People’s Water Forum, a civil society and labour coalition representing nearly 70 countries, has called for water to be recognized as a human right and for an end to the World Water Forum.

“This is a victory for all our groups who have been working for over 15 years for water to be recognized as a human right,” says Maude Barlow, senior advisor to the President of the UN General Assembly.

Discussions are ongoing and more countries are expected to sign on to the counter-declaration.