UN urges development parties to ensure there is availability of water

United Nations (UN) special expert Leo Heller
United Nations (UN) special expert Leo Heller

The United Nations (UN) has urged all parties involved in development cooperation to work together to ensure there is availability of water around the world and proper sanitation.

The UN special expert Leo Heller said this during World Water day, highlighting the aims to shed light on the key role of development cooperation in the realization of rights to water and sanitation.

“Development cooperation is a crucial element in the funding of these services in many developing countries and seems to be increasing in accordance with commitment outlines in the Agenda for Sustainable Development,” remarked Mr. Heller.

Mr. Heller also noted that a human rights-based approach in development programs and projects appears to be more of the exception rather than the rule although many states and multilateral organizations have declared their intention to realize the need for water and sanitation through the development cooperation.

“It is clear that development cooperation can establish a benchmark for those involved in the water and sanitation sector, including the governments of countries in development cooperation partnerships,” added Mr. Heller.

He explained that if such moves are guided by a human rights approach they can contribute to the realization of the rights to water and sanitation, but if not, they can instead have a negative impact.

The UN water expert called for a framework solidly based on human rights, prioritizing projects that benefit the poorest and most disadvantaged and supporting states to progressively realize those rights.

“For outcomes to be effective and sustainable, States need strong legal, regulatory and policy frameworks. Development cooperation hence needs to focus on capacity-building activities that strengthen local authorities,” he reiterated.

Mr. Feller furthered that  Funding for development cooperation is on the rise but water generally receives more money than sanitation with large systems regularly getting  about twice as much as smaller ones, suggesting that urban areas are being favored to the detriment of those more rural.

The Special Rapporteur is conducting further research involving talks with key actors, as well as field visits. His findings and related recommendations will be reflected in a report to be presented to the UN General Assembly in October.

In Kenya, citizens in many places for instance parts of Nairobi,Samburu,Maralal,Turkana among others  had nothing to celebrate about on the World Water Day since many people are affected with water shortage.

A statement released by the UN said that people need to improve the collection and treatment of waste water and safely reuse it to curb the health impacts of using contaminated water.

The UN persisted that reducing the quantity and pollution of wastewater will help protect the environment and water resources.

According to the World Water statistics, there are still over 3 billion people who lack basic access to clean water and proper sanitation and 2.4 billion people lack access to improved sanitation.

Kenya together with other nations are joining hands to ensure safe water and good sanitation for improved health.