Why we need to talk about shit

Today, about a billion people worldwide face the indignity of defecating in the open. The lack of clean and safe school toilets leads to higher dropout among girls once they reach puberty. Diarrhoeal diseases – a direct result of poor sanitation – claim more children every year than AIDS, malaria and measles combined. A taboo topic often shrouded in ignorance and silence, toilet sanitation begs for open discourse and social awareness in its global implications on health, education and safety. Jack Sim asks the provocative question: what would it take to mobilise our society and see social change in this sorely neglected issue, and what can we do about it? Widely known as Mr Toilet, Jack Sim broke the global taboo of toilet and sanitation by bringing the agenda to global media centre-stage. After attaining financial independence, he retired from business to devote the rest of his life to social work. In 1998 he founded the Restroom Association of Singapore and the World Toilet Organization (WTO) in 2001, a global network and service platform for toilet associations to promote sound sanitation and public health policies. WTO declared November 19th as World Toilet Day which has now been adopted as Official UN World Toilet Day.

Watch Jack Sim explaining why we need to talk about shit >    

5 takeaways from Stockholm World Water Week

Experts have pointed to a growing momentum among politicians, finance and business leaders toward meeting the global water and sanitation development goals. However, many also warn that development finance is still woefully small, that silos persist among actors, and that not enough attention is being paid to reaching the poorest of the poor.

These were some of the main messages heard during last week’s Stockholm World Water Week, which saw more than 3,200 participants from 133 countries descend on the Swedish capital for six days of sessions and discussion centered around reaching the water and sanitation Sustainable Development Goals. How to access new sources of finance and how to spend existing flows more effectively was a prominent theme. The World Bank now estimates an additional $114 billion per year is needed in order to extend universal access to WASH beyond what was required for the Millennium Development Goals. But in 2014, development finance for water totaled just $18 billion per year.

 

Meeting WASH specific SDG targets by 2030 is a huge challenge. Currently the U.N estimates that 2.1 billion people still lack access to safe drinking water, and 4.5 billion are without improved sanitation services. Furthermore, with population growth projections at their highest in water scarce areas such as sub-Saharan Africa, and increasing rates of urbanization, the challenge is set to get even harder in the coming years.

Here are five key takeaways and issues to watch.

1. The SDGs have ‘galvanized’ the WASH sector

2. But how much is being translated into practice?

3. Unlocking new financial flows for WASH

4. The most promising new developments are in urban sanitation

5. Waste management is an increasingly urgent problem

Read more >

 

Environmentally and Social Just Globalization is Possible

As G20 leaders meet in Hamburg, Germany,  July 7-8, they are once again being advised by the Civil20 (the formal civil society link to the G20) that if, but only if, globalization targets the systemic causes of inequality, will  Agenda 2030, the UN Sustainable Development Goals be achieved.

Before, at the UN Financing for Development Forum, G20 leaders and other governments, concluded that “the current global trajectory will not deliver the goal of eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions by 2030” (United Nations e/FFDF/2017/L.1). Rethinking globalization is now on civil society and government agendas.

Contrary to those who seek to discredit civil society as being anti-growth and anti-globalization, including some business leaders, the C20 considers international cooperation, not nationalism, to be the way forward. The 300 citizen-based organisations, who gathered in Hamburg June 18-19, presented their recommendations on how to build an environmentally and socially fair globalization to Angela Merkel, this year’s G20 Presidency.

Making globalization environmentally and socially-just begins by considering food security; the nexus of the environment and economics; reforming the international financial architecture and protecting the spaces for civil society to participate.

For globalization to be good for food security and agriculture it needs to be based on the knowledge that smallholder farmers feed the vast majority of the world’s population.  G20 countries must act on the evidence that there is an inverse relationship between farm size and productivity in many agro ecological conditions. Family farms can produce more food per unit of land, if provided with supportive infrastructure and services similar to that already provided to agri-businesses.   Rethinking globalization does not mean an end to large farms.  It means enabling and protecting family farming systems.  Lacking land tenure security and the rule of property law, smallholders are losing their land at alarming rates. Their livelihoods and global food security are at heightened risk.

For globalization to be good for the environment and economics there must be an end to water grabbing.  Investment funds are seeking to profit from the monetization of water and turning freshwater into an economic asset gaining in scarcity value.  Water is embedded in the extraction, production, processing and trading of natural resources and commodities including the energy used in all of these process.  Its real cost, like other externalities, needs to be priced and tax according to the value it adds to corporate profits and investor returns.  While water needs to be protected as a common right, where it is used to support economic growth, its cost must incorporate the protection and restoration of the environment and be managed under the polluter-pays principle.

Read the full C20 recommendations >https://civil-20.org/

 

Human rights to water and sanitation at the core of SDG 6

C20 Summit 18-19 June, Hamburg

Workshop 4, Sunday 18 June, 13.30 – 15.30 hrs.

The G20 has committed itself to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and committed to promote sustainable agriculture and rural development, improve global food security and nutrition for all people. The obligation of governments to sustainably ensure the human rights to water and sanitation for all without discrimination must be the driving force behind the implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda.
While the fundamental role of water as a human need and a human right has been acknowledged by the UN and member states, too often strategies to secure that right conflict with the competing interests and actions for the same resource. Sustainability of water resources is threatened by the cumulative impacts of over-extraction and pollution. Achieving long-term sustainability of our hydrosphere requires re-embedding social, cultural, and environmental concerns within the local, regional, and global systems that plan, finance, develop and manage our world’s water. A rights-based approach is the best way to ensure that a pro- poor and global justice perspective predominates, with regards to access, use and control of water resources. Access to water and sanitation is the start of economic and social development and of food and nutrition security.
We ask the G20 to take responsibility for the sustainable use of water, including preserving healthy (water) ecosystems and guaranteeing the human rights to water and sanitation. The overuse of water by agribusinesses can affect negatively the water requirements of small-scale food producers in subsistence agriculture or for local markets.

• How do we change focus of the G20 from “economic growth based on markets” to “sustainable development based on human rights”?
• How do we make the G20 put the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation at the core of their SDG policy?

Join the debate with:
Maren Heuvels (BORDA), Gabriela Sacco (Catedra del Dialogo y Cultura del Encuentro), Jerry van den Berge (EuSAIN, Right2Water) and Claudia Wendland (WECF)
Moderator: Marijana Todorovic (Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung)

                    

CSO coalition messages to ministers at SWA high level meeting

From over the world Water/Environment Ministers and Finance Ministers met at the Sanitation and
Water for All (SWA) high level meeting in April 2017. A global coalition of CSOs, led by End Water Poverty passed the following messages to advance progress in achieving SDG 6.

Access to water and particularly sanitation and hygiene for the poorest populations and communities
is lagging behind!

More than one third of the global population – some 2.4 billion people — do not have access to sanitation facilities (of which 70% live in rural areas), and 946 million people practice open defecation. These water and sanitation needs especially affect the health and economic potential of women and girls.

– Governments have to take into consideration the urgency of addressing the needs of the poorest
and most marginalised (in both rural and urban areas and informal settlements) through adequate
policies, participatory approaches and financial planning and funding allocation.
– Governments, donors and service providers need to include the Human Rights to Water and
Sanitation as guiding principles for the implementation of SDG 6.1 and 6.2 and ensuring that
financing reaches the most marginalized.
– Governments, donors and international organisations need to honour their financial obligations
and increase the resources available to the sector and the poorest populations, especially on
hygiene and sanitation.
– Addressing the rights of women, ethnic minorities and people living with disabilities is key to achieve universal and sustainable access to WASH for all.

Generating adequate financing requires trust and integrity in strengthened and more efficient national
systems, with strong safeguards and CSO and local participation, as well as, broad societal consensus
on the way WASH services are sustainably financed.

  • Governments should establish strong accountability mechanisms and allow for stakeholder
    engagement and oversight mechanisms for large investment programmes, including collaboration
    with a capable independent institution (e.g. auditing office or specialized watchdog CSOs) for
    oversight and complaints management. They should enable citizen monitoring and feedback
    through all stages of policy and programme implementation.
  • Governments and service providers (including CSOs, CBOs and NGOs) need to put in place
    transparent mechanisms to track financing to water, sanitation and hygiene, linking expenditures
    with the services provided and ensuring that increases in expenditure produce the intended results
    (e.g. increased or expanded services).
  • Financial mechanisms need to include sustainable financing of local CSOs, CBOs or NGOs to
    facilitate a strong and independent civil society. Empowered local communities can greatly
    contribute to SDG implementation by monitoring and providing feedback on the performance of
    governments and service providers, as well as by directly engaging in service delivery.

CSOs have a role to play alongside and in collaboration with governments, donors, and
international organisation in the implementation of the SDG 6.1 and 6.2 and of the Collaborative
Behaviours, as they are also implementation partners. Participatory approaches for service
delivery and budget programming should be reinforced to allow for all partners to play a role in
the new ambitious SDG agenda and to promote mutual accountability.

 

Manual on Human Rights approach for IWRM

The recently launched manual on Human Rights based approach for Integrated Water Resources Management brings together two fields that, until recently, have been separate: Human Rights and IWRM. The union of these two fields is a natural one, as water-management practitioners and human rights professionals have become increasingly aware of the importance of water in key human rights domains, such as the right to life, the right to health, the right to food and the right to a healthy environment.

“It has become increasingly important to understand that there are some key existing dilemmas in the IWRM concept that can, at least partly, be resolved through a human rights-based approach (HRBA),” said Jenny Grönwall, Programme Manager, Water Governance in SIWI. “For instance, the HRBA emphasises the need to take the rights of each individual into account and give priority to vulnerable groups, and not stop short at planning for the river basin without recognising under-represented stakeholders.”

The manual provides an introduction on IWRM, the human rights-based approach and the principles of water governance, ensuring readers, whether they come from a water management or human rights background, have the knowledge base to be successful. Moving beyond just being a tool for reference, the manual expands into the realities of implementation and includes a facilitator’s guide. “The human rights-based approach reminds that each and every one of us have certain rights and entitlements, most importantly to safe drinking water, which the state and its proxies–including water utilities–have corresponding obligations to realise,” added Grönwall. “Likewise, we all have responsibilities towards one another, to future generations and to the ecosystem that provides us with services.

 

 

Civil 20 statement on Water and Environment

8-9 July the G20 will meet in Germany to discuss global development issues. To point the 20 biggest economies in a sustainable and fair direction, civil society organisations from these and other countries have organised in a C20 and issued a statement with recommendations and demands to the G20. Human Rights are central to Sustainable (Global) Development and people must prevail over profits. EuSAIN is part of this C20 and joined the working groups on Agriculture-Food security, Water and Environment.

Access to water and sanitation is the start of economic and social development, food and nutrition security. The C20 call upon the G20 to promote an integrated planning approach at watershed level, prior to investing in large scale infrastructure in particular hydropower, that will ensure water flow is retained for human consumption, agriculture and natural ecosystems. The G20 must put water and sanitation central to achieving the SDGs and set clear, measurable (annual) targets to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

Moreover the C20 calls for an equitable allocation of water that raises living standards, revives rural
communities, and recognizes productive uses of water for livelihoods and the environment, even when these benefits do not have clear monetary valuation. The G20 must reduce their “water footprint” and put an end to all forms of water grabbing by companies from G20 countries and leave control over ‘local’ water resources to ‘local’ authorities and communities. Water and environment are a public good, not a commodity! A market-based management of water and natural resources, especially the privatization of water and eco systems and services, jeopardizes the access to water for poor and marginalized groups in many countries.

Read the full statement: C20Water-Environment

Human Right to Water and Sanitation statement, Rome 2017

Statement on the occasion of World Water Day 2017

In his encyclical Laudato Si, Pope Francis presents the main issues related to the human right to water, including the lack of access to drinking water, sanitation, and continued inequality of quality and availability of resources. The encyclical also refers to the repercussions of droughts and floods on food production, the prevalence of pollution-related diseases and warns us against a “green economy” that is often green not because it is ecological, but because it treats nature as a commodity.

The socio-environmental crisis that we face arises from environmentally irresponsible human action that has resulted in spreading socio-environmental injustice, increasing inequality and poverty, and a lack of adequate food supply. Throughout the world, the lack of access to safe water and the pollution of water sources seriously and increasingly affects quality of life, particularly women, the poorest, and the most vulnerable. In addition, thousands of people put their lives at risk by demanding the right to water or by actively defending natural resources.

Those most affected by the scarcity of water and a lack of basic sanitation must be involved in the developments towards universal access. Everyone is called to participate actively in caring for our common home, each with their own experiences, initiatives and capabilities. Households, neighbourhoods, cities, regions and countries, with small and large responses and actions, are called to guarantee universal access to safe water and sanitation, and to exercise the responsibility to our fellow human beings and to the generations to come.

Ensuring the human right to safe water is essential for the exercise of other rights such as food, health and welfare. Human rights provide a normative basis and constitute a source of authority and legitimacy for realising universal and fair access to this resource. The inclusion of the right to clean water and sanitation in international agreements, instruments and declarations is indispensable for the development of human life. For this reason, the recognition of access to clean water and sanitation as a fundamental human right is indisputable.

Today, we know what we have to do: develop another paradigm of development, centred on the care of our common home, centred on solidarity, equality and justice in the use and management of water.

We call for the implementation of an integral ecology, incorporating environmental, economic, social and cultural dimensions, for fostering a culture of encounter, which acknowledges the human right to water and sanitation. Science, culture, politics and technology all have a part to play in achieving societies of justice, solidarity and equality, committed to the care for our common home.

Signatories:

Papa Francisco –  Card. Claudio Hummes –  Mons. Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo – José Luis Lingeri –  Luis Liberman – Gabriela Sacco

Jerónimo Ainchil – Alejandra Alberdi – H. Dogan Altinbilek – Cristian Asinelli – Juan Ayala – Adrián Bernal –  Asit Biswas – Emilia Bocanegra – Rutgerd Boelens – Valeria Bubas – Rebeca Céspedes – Keshav Chandra – Michael Cohen – Ismael Cortazzo – Elena Cristofori –  Emilio Custodio – Magalid Cutina – Leandro Del Moral – Gabriel Eckstein – Emanuele Fantini – María Feliciana Fernández García –  Ana Ferreira – Alfredo Ferro – Héctor Floriani – Enrique García – Alberto Garrido – Peter Gleick – Adrián González – Quentin Grafton – Joyeeta Gupta – Pedro Hughes – Giulia Lanzarini – Marcelo Lorelli –  José Luis Inglese – José Paulino Martínez Cabrera –  Ugo Mattei – Hugo Maturana – David Molden – Alberto Monfrini – Daniel Nolasco – Virginia Oliver – Rosa Pavanelli – Ivo Poletto – Pedro Romero – Carlos Salamanca – Farhana Sultana – Danya Tavela – Cecilia Tortajada – Jorge Triana Soto – Jerry van den Berge – Gianni Vattimo – Virgilio Viana – Alessia Villanucci – Martin Von Hildebrand – Aaron Wolf – Ana Zagari – Christian Ferrando – Christiane Torloni – José Romero – Laureano Quiroga

The Final Statement is the result of the Workshop ‘Human Right to Water: An interdisciplinary focus and contributions on the central role of public policies in water and sanitation management’ held on February 23rd and 24th, 2017 at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Vatican City

Read the full statement and the version in Spanish >

World Water Day 2017

World Water Day is held annually on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

This year the theme for World Water Day is: “Wastewater”.

Water is the essential building block of life. But it is more than just essential to quench thirst or protect health; water is vital for creating jobs and supporting economic, social, and human development.

Today, there are over 663 million people living without a safe water supply close to home, spending countless hours queuing or trekking to distant sources, and coping with the health impacts of using contaminated water.

2017 Theme: Why Wastewater?

This year, we focus on wastewater and ways to reduce and reuse as over 80% of all the wastewater from our homes, cities, industry and agriculture flows back to nature polluting the environment and losing valuable nutrients and other recoverable materials.

We need to improve the collection and treatment of wastewater and safely reuse it. At the same time, we need to reduce the quantity and pollution load of wastewater we produce, to help protect the environment and our water resources.

Sustainable Development Goal 6 – ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030 – includes a target to halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and increase water recycling and safe reuse.

  • Globally, over 80% of the wastewater generated by society flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused. (Sato et al, 2013)
  • 1.8 billion people use a source of drinking water contaminated with faeces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. Unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene cause around 842,000 deaths each year. (WHO/UNICEF 2014/WHO 2014)
  • The opportunities from exploiting wastewater as a resource are enormous. Safely managed wastewater is an affordable and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients and other recoverable materials.

More facts will be in the World Water Development Report 2017.

Seminar Human Right to Water and Sanitation in the Vatican

On 23 and 24 February a seminar about the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation took place at the Vatican. 95 Participants from across the world: academics, civil society, business and labour representatives discussed during two days the state of play in realising the rights to water and sanitation. Jerry van den Berge presented the case of the European Citizens Initiative (ECI) Right2Water. Pope Francis addressed the seminar and declared that: “Water needs to be given the central place it deserves in the framework of public policy”. “We are obliged to proclaim this essential human right and to defend it, but we also need to work concretely to bring about political and juridical commitments in this regard. Every state is called to implement, also through juridical instruments, the resolution approved by the United Nations General Assembly since 2010 concerning the human right to a secure supply of drinking water.”

Pope Francis continued: “Respect for water is a condition for the exercise of the other human rights. If we neglect this basic right, how will we be able to protect and defend other rights?” He called for a “Culture of Care and Encounter“. “In this culture it is essential that each state act as a guarantor of universal access to safe and clean water and sanitation. He praised the participants that they are helping to make our common home a more liveable and fraternal place, where none are rejected or excluded, but all enjoy the goods needed to live and to grow in dignity.