Sustained Access To Improved Sanitation

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Sanitation is vital for the betterment of public health and social development. The General Assembly of the United Nations and the Human Rights Council agree to the resolution (A/HRC/15/L.14 September 2010) that access to sanitation is a human right. The Human Right to Sanitation is derived from the right to an adequate standard of living and inextricably related to the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, as well as the right to life and human dignity.

Although access to sanitation has now been ratified by the United Nations in 2010, its implementation is the ultimate goal and depends on disseminating information about its practical content. At this stage, the most-advanced documents are the reports of the United Nations Special Rapporteur, which clarifies many characteristics of this right. However, these documents focus on a very high level analysis and do not provide enough practical guidance for decision-makers and practitioners to move forward. A State or a municipality does not clearly know the type of obligation it has to perform in order to fully implement this right. The challenge is to debate and progress from the current situation towards a clearer understanding of the practical content of the Right to Sanitation.

The goal of this Target for 2012 is therefore to clarify the scope of the internationally-recognized Human Right to Sanitation taking into account national experiences, and publish one document highlighting the practical implications of the right to sanitation for practitioners. Towards the attainment of this goal, the session will focus on presentation of various solutions focusing on experience from Africa, Asia and Europe.

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