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.
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 >