UN Special Rapporteur’s Handbook for realising the rights to water and sanitation: From policy to practice

The UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water has been receiving repeated requests to provide guidance from States (national and local), service providers, regulators and others, to clarify what this human right would imply for their work and activities.  
Catarina de Albuquerque, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation
Published: 4 years, 3 months ago (11/13/2013)
Updated: 3 years, 8 months ago (06/20/2014)
Since 2010, when the UN General Assembly recognised the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation and the Human Rights Council reaffirmed this recognition, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water has been receiving repeated requests to provide guidance from States (national and local), service providers, regulators and others, to clarify what this human right would imply for their work and activities. In fact this recognition has given an increased visibility to the WASH sector and many sector professionals see human rights as an opportunity to raise political support for these essential services.

The Special Rapporteur has been working closely with several organisations interested in understanding the meaning of the human right to water and sanitation and translating it into reality. This handbook for implementing the human rights to water and sanitation is a response to those – and possible future - requests. The planned date for publication is September 2014.

The Special Rapporteur is pursuing a collaborative approach to the development of this handbook, firstly in the identification of the key barriers, challenges and opportunities that stakeholders encounter in realising the rights to water and sanitation, and then further in the testing and verification of the checklists and recommendations to be featured in the handbook. This collaborative approach will ensure that the Handbook is relevant and helpful beyond the mandate of the current Special Rapporteur.

There will be several opportunities to engage with the Special Rapporteur on the development of the Handbook, through e-discussions and online consultations.

The first e-discussion will be hosted by the Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN) from 28 October -15 November 2013. This consultation will focus on sustainability, non-discrimination and the roles and responsibilities of local actors. Please register at the following address to take part by 27th October 2013: http://next.dgroups.org/RWSN/equity

The first draft of the Handbook will be available for comment online in November / December 2013.

The link to the online consultation will be announced here!

Moreover, the Special Rapporteur invites States and other interested stakeholders in this Handbook to contribute their views and perspectives in writing, in particular through the proposal of case studies, comments and other experiences that would like to share on the realization of the rights to water and sanitation. For this purpuse, a list of questions is available in English, Spanish and French to facilitate your inputs. (E F S) Please send your submission no later than 13 December, electronically to registry@ohchr.org with a copy to srwatsan@ohchr.org(encouraged) or by mail to:

Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation
Sustainable Human Development Section
Special Procedures Branch
UNOG-OHCHR
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Fax: +41 22 917 90 06

> Written contributions

As the Handbook is developed, this website will be updated with the proposed table of contents, requests for assistance, case studies, discussions, partners’ activities and other information.

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For mode information, see Website of UN Special rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation