World Water Activists Urge the UN General Assembly to Vote for the Human Right to Water and Sanitation

By Blue Planet Project, PRNE
Thursday, July 22, 2010

NEW YORK, July 23, 2010 - WHAT: Tele-press Conference

WHEN: Monday, July 26th at 08:00 -4GMT (New York, EST)

HOW: Contact Denise Hughes:,
+1-917-549-2621, to R.S.V.P. or arrange an interview. Conference-Call-In-
Number: +1-613-234-9374 Code - 973949 followed by the number sign.

WHO: Maude Barlow is the founder of the Blue Planet Project, Chair of the
Board of Food & Water Watch, and Chair of The Council of Canadians. She was
the Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the United Nations
General Assembly. Her book, Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the
Coming Battle for the Right to Water, argues that the water crisis -
together with climate change - poses one of the gravest threats to humanity.

Vandana Shiva is a world-renowned environmental leader. Director of the
Research Foundation on Science, Technology, and Ecology, she is the author of
Water Wars: Pollution, Profit. In Water Wars, she analyzes the historical
erosion of communal water rights and exposes the destruction of the earth and
the disenfranchisement of the world's poor. She also reveals how many of the
most significant conflicts of our time are fought over water.

Pablo Solón Romero is Ambassador of Bolivia to the United Nations.
Previously, he was Bolivia's Ambassador for issues concerning Integration and
Trade. He was the Secretary of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR)
during Bolivia's Presidency of that institution and served as President Evo
delegate in the Strategic Reflection Committee for South American
Integration (2006). Ambassador Solón has been a social activist and worked
for several years on human rights issues.


On July 28, for the first time the UN General Assembly will debate and
vote on an historic resolution supporting the right to "safe, clean, drinking
water and sanitation" that was presented on June 17 by Pablo Solón, the
Bolivian Ambassador to the UN, and co-sponsored by at least 30 countries.
This resolution would redress the omission of water as a human right from the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The U.S., UK and Canada are standing against the resolution and
influencing others to their position, threatening to divide the world body
along North-South lines. Expressing concern, Maude Barlow says, "The U.S.,
Canada, and some European countries are throwing in every wrench they can to
stop this process, even as their own citizens enjoy these rights, they
shamelessly deny these rights to others. They're using procedural excuses to
block an issue of life and death and showing no respect or compassion for
those suffering terribly from lack of water and sanitation."

Why a UN resolution?

Water is essential to life. Everyday 4,000 children die from
water-related illness. The United Nations estimates that nearly 1.2 billion
people live without clean water and 2.6 billion without proper sanitation.

Passing this resolution is the first step the international community can
take towards water sustainability. It will focus attention on the fundamental
importance of water and sanitation. The resolution will also lay the legal
groundwork for a fair system of distribution, and begin a larger process to
clarify the state's role to ensure clean, affordable water to all. Future
legal instruments could also protect water rights for the earth and address
the urgent need to reclaim polluted waters and end destructive practices of
the world's water sources.

Water must be paramount in realizing the Millennium Development Goals,
and at the Climate Change Convention and Rio +20. In the International Herald
Tribune, Mikhail Gorbachev said, "Expanding access to water and sanitation
will open many other development bottlenecks…As population growth and
climate change increase the pressure for adequate water and food, water will
increasingly become a security issue."

Without water's recognition as a human right, decision-making over policy
will continue to shift from the UN and governments toward institutions that
favor private water companies and the commodification of water. In the face
of a worsening global water crisis, UN member states must affirm whether
water is a human right, or a commodity.

"Life requires access to clean water; to deny the right to water is to
deny the right to life," says Maude Barlow, "We must seize this moment to
enact solid legislation and action at national and international levels -
starting with the U.N. vote on Wednesday."

For further information: Denise Hughes,,
+1-917-549-2621, to R.S.V.P. or arrange an interview

For further information: Denise Hughes, Denise at, +1-917-549-2621, to R.S.V.P. or arrange an interview

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