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Roundtable on the Human Right to Water

First Meeting of the Parties

Geneva, Switzerland 17-19 January 2007

Roundtable on the Human Right to Water and the Protocol on Water and Health:
making access to water a reality

In the past 30 years, since the 1977 Mar del Plata Declaration, there has been growing recognition of the human right to water, both by individual States and by the United Nations as a whole. Recent developments in the UN Human Rights System – in particular general comment No. 15 of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on the right to water and the latest decision of the Human Rights Council on international human rights and access to water – have drawn further attention to this linkage. But the recognition of the human right to water is only the first step towards its implementation. How can this right be translated into reality?

The Roundtable brought together the human rights, health and environment communities to exchange views and work towards a common understanding of this issue. It examined progress to date in interpreting the human right to water and the legal, political and practical results of this debate.

Finally, the Roundtable explored the links with the Protocol on Water and Health and how the Protocol can help countries put the right into practice.


Maria Francisca Ize-Charrin, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Presentations by panellists:

Joaquín de Arístegui, Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Representative , Permanent Mission of Spain to the United Nations Office at Geneva

Bart Ouvry, Deputy Permanent Representative of Belgium at the United Nations, Geneva

Elodie Carmona, Ministry of Health, France

Hannele Nyroos, Counsellor, Ministry of the Environment, Finland

Anna Tsvetkova, European ECO-Forum