(10 December 2014) It has been a while since we last informed you about what’s going on in Europe.
But plenty is happening. First, the right2water European Citizens Initiative (ECI) is going to be discussed again at the European Parliament (EP). However, this time it is possible that all the elements that the European Commission left out in their positive response to our ECI will be included. We will never stop repeating it, until we get it: we want European Union legislation to implement the Human Right to water as defined by the United Nations.
(3 December 2014) Global efforts to provide improved water and sanitation for all are gaining momentum, but serious gaps in funding continue to hamper progress, according to a new report from WHO on behalf of UN-Water. The UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS 2014), published biannually, presents data from 94 countries and 23 external support agencies. Two thirds of the 94 countries surveyed recognized drinking-water and sanitation as a universal human right in national legislation.
(19 November 2014) In September the UN-special rapporteur launched the handbook on realizing the human rights to water and sanitation. It is an extensive proof of what can and needs to be done to make these rights become a reality for all on our planet. We have contributed to the handbook and we would like to thank and congratulate the special rapporteur and her team for this big job!
(3 November 2014) In response to our ECI “water is a human right!” the European Commission said it would explore “benchmarking” as a way to achieve better quality water services in the EU. As a first step it organised a multi-stakeholder meeting to discuss the subject and to hear the opinions of stakeholder in water services. As ECI organisers we were invited to explain our ideas of how benchmarking could help to improve quality water services in Europe. This meeting took place on 9 September.
(23 October 2014) The European Economic and Social Committee which brings together employers, trade unions, consumers, farmers and representatives of other groups from all European countries calls on the European Commission to come forward with legislative proposals that honour the demands of the European Citizens Initiative Right2Water, the first ever successful ECI. The EESC urges the European Commission to propose legislation
(1 October 2014) On Monday 29 September, a US bankruptcy judge delivered the latest blow to poor residents in the US city of Detroit who are struggling to pay for their water. Judge Steven Rhodes, ruling from the bench, declined to stop the city from shutting off water to people who can’t pay their bills – in practice up to 400 households a day – and reportedly stated that there exists no enforceable right to free or affordable water.
(29 September 2014) On the occasion of World Environmental Health Day, 26 September, the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) highlighted the vital importance of water for public health. Having access to adequate sanitation facilities and sufficient amounts of safe water for drinking and hygiene is essential for human health.
(11 September 2014) With respect to the human right to water and sanitation, “right2water” has deliberately focused on the aspects of availability, accessibility and affordability of water supply and wastewater disposal. Quality of drinking water and security of supply – both important aspects of achieving this human right – are in principle effectively ensured by the Drinking Water Directive.
(12 August 2014) In response to our European Citizens’ Initiative the European Commission said it would start a public consultation on the drinking water directive in view of improving access to quality water in the EU. This consultation is open now. We would like to encourage everybody who has signed our ECI to participate in this consultation and respond to the questionnaire.
(11 August 2014) In response to the court decision that declared the privatisation illegal and as a result of the referendum that was held in Thessaloniki earlier this year, the Greek government has finally decided to withdraw the (Troika driven) proposal to privatise and sell the water companies of Athens and Thessaloniki. The decision was announced on 15 July by prime minister Samaras and coalition partner Venizelos.
On June 18, the Blue Planet Project, the Detroit People’s Water Board, the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and Food & Water Watch submitted a report to Catarina de Albuquerque, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation, urging her to take immediate action to help restore water services and stop further cut-offs in Detroit.