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No one left behind: Good practices to ensure equitable access to water and sanitation in the pan-European region

Published: February 2012

The Protocol on Water and Health stipulates that “equitable access to water and sanitation, adequate in both quantity and quality, should be provided for all members of the population, especially those who suffer a disadvantage or social exclusion”. At the same time, “special consideration should be given to the protection of people who are particularly vulnerable to water-related diseases”.

In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly and the Human Rights Council recognized access to water and sanitation as a human right. In order to comply with the human rights obligations, as well as their obligations under the Protocol on Water and Health, Governments need to pay special attention to ensure that access to water and sanitation is equitable for all members of the population.

This publication presents good practices and lessons learned 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: geographical disparities; specific barriers faced by vulnerable and marginalized groups; and affordability concerns. A range of available policy options to fight inequities in each of those key dimensions are presented.

The examples contained in this publication should support and encourage policy and decision makers at the national and local levels, as well as private and public operators, non-governmental organizations, international donors and other concerned actors to review and, where appropriate, replicate or adapt existing approaches and put in place new or additional measures, to ensure equitable access to water and sanitation. The publication also aims to inspire practitioners, civil society and private sector organizations with regard to the role that they can play and the activities they can carry out in achieving equitable access to water and sanitation.

The preparation of the publication was supported by the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Health of France.

Download the publication in English, French, and Russian.

Download the Brochure in English, French and Russian.

Download the Inlay in English and French.

Download the Presentation in English.


Read the Press release on the launching of the publication at the World Water Forum in English, French and Russian.