The year 2010 has afforded a milestone for the global discourse on water, sanitation and health, which has, at least to my impression, not yet been adequately appreciated: By a vote of 122 in favour to none against, with 41 abstentions, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution introduced by Bolivia calling States and international organisations to provide financial resources, build capacity and transfer technology, in scaling up efforts to provide safe, clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation for all. On July 28, the UN declared the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights! While representatives of some countries expressed reservations concerning the legal basis or suspected counterproductive interferences with the work going on in the Human Rights Council, others like Germany emphasised commonalities and invited delegations to support and participate actively in this “Geneva process”. Referring to the UN resolution, Roger Aertgeerts, WHO European Centre for Environment and Health, highlighted the outstanding significance of the Protocol on Water and Health to the Water Convention being the single legally binding international instrument in this field, during the 2nd Meeting of the Parties in Bucharest in November of this year. The challenge is now to turn the right into reality.
Our current newsletter comprises reflections and case studies of Paul Osborn about the strategy of the 300in6 initiative, which aims at enhancing existing or new activities in the field of water, sanitation and health. Furthermore you will find an interesting field report about the implementation of a Water Safety Plan in a Romanian school provided by Margriet Samwel from the lead organisation of this initiative, Women in Europe for a Common Future. As usual, the newsletter is completed by short reports from conferences and meetings as well as notices about events taking place in the next year.
We thank our contributors and our readership for their interest, encourage you to contribute to one of the future issues of ‘Water & Risk’, and wish you untroubled and peaceful Christmas days as well as health and success in 2011!