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Ronny Patz
Political Scientist ()

Political Scientist from the University of Potsdam (focus: EU affairs & networks), Advisor to the Transparency International EU Office, Co-Editor at Bloggingportal.eu.

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Water as a human right? - An EU Parliament hearing

Published 23rd January 2011 - 4 comments - 3153 views -

Tomorrow, Monday 24 January 2011, from 15:15 to 16:30, the European Parliament's Subcommittee on Human Rights together with the Committee on Development wild hold a "Public Hearing on the right to water and sanation".

According to the draft programme linked above

The joint hearing will focus on analysing the actions and measures, including those of a
legislative nature, taken by the EU and its Member States at national and international
level, to ensure human rights obligations regarding access to safe drinking water and to
sanitation are respected. The joint hearing is to prepare for the 14th World Water Day (on
22 March 2011), when the EU will also be celebrating the 2nd European Water Day.

Apart from a number of speakers from the European Parliament, Catarina de Albuquerque, UN Independent Expert on the issue of human rights obligations related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation will give a presentation. Her reports to the UN Human Rights Council from 2009 and from 2010 have been attached to the meeting documents of the subcommittee.

I personally won't have time to follow the meeting, neither live nor on the web, but you can follow it via the EU Parliament webstreaming service. Go here and scroll down until "DROI" (which is the abbreviation for the Human Rights Subcommittee).

I think this would be worth a blog post on this platform...!

Update (25 Jan): The public hearing has been recorded and can watched here. It starts after some initial announcements by the Chair of the Sub-Committee on other issues (Tunesia, China, Belarus, Ukraine, the situation of Christians, Israel, Uzbekistan). So if you have 5-10 minutes of patience, you can finally watch the hearing (which, surprisingly, worked on my Mac).

Update (30 Jan): The EU Council Secretariat has written a short summary of the human rights subcommittee meeting, including the agenda item on water. Here is what they write:


"3. Joint Public Hearing on the right to water and sanitation

The hearing was introduced by Mr Deva (ECR, UK) who stressed that achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) would be futile without also providing at the same time access to drinking water and appropriate sanitation.

The first invited speaker, Ms de Albuquerque, UN Independent Expert on the issue of human rights obligations, discussed access to safe drinking water and sanitation and the implications of Human Rights Council's Resolution 7/22 : Human rights and access to safe drinking water and sanitation, stressing that the MDGs did not sufficiently consider the aspect of water quality.

The second invited speaker, Ms Morley, Executive secretary, Freshwater Action Network (FAN) Global Secretariat, London, spoke about access to sanitation as a particularly neglected MDG which had important environmental implications.

In the subsequent discussion the following issues were raised : the right to access to natural resources as a human right and so-called 'climate refugees' (Mr Prodi, S&D, IT) ; the geostrategic importance of water supply (Mr Deva, ECR, UK) ; the importance of democratic management of water resources (Mr Berman, S&D, NL); the importance of the Aarhus Convention in guaranteeing transparency and access to environmental information for local communities as well as a rights-based approach to development policy (Ms Hautala, Greens/EFA, FI).

Mr Rinaldi (ALDE, IT) summed up the discussion by highlighting that water issues were very complex and included such issues as diverse as climate change, conflict prevention and international trade. He stressed that the 'ownership' of water resources would have even more wide-ranging political implications in the future."


Category: Human Rights | Tags:


  • Diêgo Lôbo Goiabeira on 23rd January 2011:

    Thank you very much for sharing it, Ronny. I will try to watch it.

  • Ronny Patz on 23rd January 2011:

    I forgot to write it, but it is still important: The European Parliament webstreams don’t work on Macs…

  • Ronny Patz on 25th January 2011:

    I have updated the post with a link to the recording of the meeting.

  • Ronny Patz on 30th January 2011:

    And here’s another update of the post with a short summary of the hearing.

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