1.8 million Europeans Demand the Right to Water and Sanitation

Brussels, 10 december 2013.

Today on Human Rights Day, the European Water Movement welcomes the submission of 1.8 million signatures to the European Commission, demanding it to “implement the human right to water and sanitation”.

"Right2water" is the first successful European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). The ECI is a tool which can serve to put an issue on the European agenda, by collecting over 1 million signatures from over seven different Member States.

According to the World Health Organization, 780 million people still lack access to drinking water, including in Europe. Globally over 2 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation. The European Environmental Agency stated in 2012 that more than 50% of the rural population in 10 EU countries have no access to improved water or sanitation. This has a direct impact on their health and it is a violation of their human rights.

This ECI is a demand for Europe to commit to the human right to water and sanitation. It is a clear signal from citizens asking the European Commission to change its mind-set from a market-based approach with a focus on competition to a rights-based approach with a focus on participative public service. It asks for the aim to achieve universal and global access to water and sanitation and to safeguard our water resources for future generations.

Today, on Human Rights Day, we think this is a big step towards bringing the realisation of the right to water and sanitation closer to all the people whose rights are not fulfilled yet, as well as a big step in defence of those who see their rights threatened by corporate interests and austerity measures. We expect the European Commission to answer on how and what it will do to achieve these demands in the next three months.

European Water Movement

Aquattac, Berliner Wasserstich, Centro di Volontario Internazionale, Comitato Italiano Contratto Mondiale sull’Acqua, Coordination Eau Île-de-France, Eau Bien Commun PACA, Ecologistas En Acción, European Federation of Public Service Unions, Food & Water Europe, Forum Italiano dei Movimenti per l’Acqua, Fondation France Libertés, Institut Européen de Recherche sur la Politique de l’Eau, Plataforma Contra la Privatización del Canal de Isabel II, Re:Common, Red Agua Publica, Rete Della Conoscenza, Save Greek Water, Transnational Institute, Wasser in Bürgerhand, Xarxa per una Nova Cultura de l’Aigua.