On 28 July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly recognized the human right to water and sanitation. It also acknowledged that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realisation of all human rights. The Resolution calls upon States and international organisations to provide financial resources, help capacity-building and technology transfer to help countries, in particular developing countries, to provide safe, clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation for all.
One of the efforts made in achieving the goal of providing safe water and sanitation for all is the establishment of a UN-Water Thematic Priority Area (TPA).
The work plan for this initiative covers seven key areas: i) Management; ii) Support to the Five Year Drive for Sustainable Sanitation; iii) Support to Regional and Global Processes that support and track progress on Water and Sanitation Commitments; iv) Coordination of UN-Water contributions to discussions on the post-2015 framework for targets and indicators; v) Support to research by the Independent Expert on Human Rights relating to access to safe drinking water and sanitation; vi) Support to the Wastewater Task Force, Climate Change Task Force and the Water Quality Thematic Priority Area and vii) Coordination of inputs relating to water supply and basic sanitation for relevant international events.
The main objectives for the TPA are:
- Foster collaboration between UN Agencies
- Provide value added services to the UN, its members and Member States
- Support initiatives that facilitate achievement of the relevant MDG and SDG targets
- Raise awareness and support UN global advocacy on water supply and basic sanitation
- Co-ordinate with non-UN-Water initiatives related to water supply and basic sanitation (e.g. Sanitation and Water for All)
Activities to date
Building upon the International Year of Sanitation in 2008, the TPA has focused on the 'Sanitation for all – the drive to 2015' initiative, launched by the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in 2011. Within this advocacy drive, the Sanitation Drive to 2015 Planner's Guide and fact sheets (currently available in both English and French) were produced and made available at key events, as well as on the Sanitation Drive website and through social media outreach.
The campaign, focusing on eradication of open defecation, currently supports the DSG's call to action to end open defecation.
Other activities under consideration include mapping prospective TPA activities through UNW-DPC, developing a consolidated tool kit for planning, monitoring and evaluating WASH, and supporting UN-Water in the human right to drinking water and sanitation through advocacy and information.