The Protocol on Water and Health stipulates that "equitable access to water, adequate in terms both of quantity and of quality, should be provided for all members of the population, especially those who suffer a disadvantage or social exclusion". In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly and the Human Rights Council recognized access to water and sanitation as a human right.
The work on equitable access under the Protocol, led by France and mostly supported by UNECE, aims at enhancing access to water and sanitation for poor, vulnerable and socially excluded people.
The publication “No one left behind: Good practices to ensure equitable access to water and sanitation in the pan-European region” presents good practices and lessons learnt from throughout the pan-European region on the policies and measures to be enacted to provide equitable access to water and sanitation. It distinguishes three key dimensions of equitable access:
It presents a range of available policy options to fight inequities.
The publication was prepared by a drafting group of experts, based on the outcomes of the Workshop on Equitable Access to Water and Sanitation - Challenges, good practices and lessons learned (4-5 July 2011).
One of the main messages of the document No one left behind is that current governance frameworks are often "equity blind". Ensuring equitable access requires a results-oriented action plan, building on country situation analysis and context specific indicators.
An analytic tool, or Equitable Access Score-card, was developed to support Governments and other stakeholders to establish a baseline measure of the equity of access, discuss further actions to be taken and evaluate progress in ensuring equitable access to water and sanitation through a process of self-assessment.
The publication The Equitable Acces Score-card: supporting policy processes to achieve the human right to water and sanitation contains recommendations on how to plan for the self-assessment et provides concrete examples of the benefits of using the Score-card.