IWA Publishing

Implementing an evolving human right through water and sanitation policy


With water and sanitation vital to the public's health, there have been growing calls to accept water and sanitation as a human right and establish a rights-based framework for water policy. Through the development of international law, policymakers have increasingly specified water and sanitation as independent human rights. In this political development of human rights for water and sanitation, the authors find that the evolution of rights-based water and sanitation policy reached a milestone in the United Nations (UN) General Assembly's 2010 Resolution on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation. By memorializing international political recognition of these interconnected rights and the corresponding obligations of national governments, states provided a normative framework for expanded efforts to realize human rights through water and sanitation policy. Examining the opportunities created by this UN Resolution, this article analyzes the implementation of the human right to water and sanitation through global water governance, national water policy and water and sanitation outcomes. While obstacles remain in the implementation of this right, the authors conclude that the UN Resolution could have lasting benefits for public health.

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