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Right to water must be recognized in Sustainable Development Goals, say civil society groups

New York City, June 16 – Civil society groups were alarmed to discover today that they had suddenly been shut out of a key UN meeting on sustainable development. The meeting is the 12th of thirteen sessions that have taken place since March 2013 to determine the development agenda over the next 15 years through Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  330 groups had officially registered. Many representatives of NGOs from around the world had traveled from far to be at the meetings.

As the UN wraps up its consultations, the Blue Planet Project and Mining Working Group are concerned about the unfinished business of ensuring that the text explicitly recognizes the human right to water and sanitation. The current zero draft text does not reflect the demands for a human rights-based and people- centered approach to the SDG goal on water and sanitation that were presented by our organizations and the Women’s Major Group with endorsements from the NGO Major Group and Indigenous People’s Major Group. (Groups are organized within the consultation process into “major groups” representing different stakeholders.)

Last week, a letter was sent by nearly 300 NGOs calling for the SDG process to reinsert the human right to water and sanitation into the SDG text.  

Water justice organizations are pushing back against the approach of “mainstreaming” human rights into the text without clear commitments to a human-rights-based framework. We insist that within the context of a global contest for scarce water supplies, the UN must commit to promoting human rights over other competing interests.

Water justice activists are encouraged to join the call by tweeting using the hashtags #OWG12 , #SDGs  and #right2water.

Read the letter in English | French | Spanish | Portuguese.

Blue Planet Project