The right of all people to safe drinking water and sanitation was recognized by the UN General Assembly in 2010. A group of experts initiated by the Coalition of Water (Coalition Eau) and the France Freedom Foundation (Fondation France Libertés) has worked for two years to make this right effective in France and for its integration into French law (Translated by Alissa D’Vale)
This work resulted in a text both philosophical and legal that was presented for a bill to the French parliamentarians.
In September 2013, the French National Assembly registered Bill No. 1375 aimed at the effective implementation of the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation in France. After months of discussions and work with different stakeholders, a new bill, No. 2715, was presented.
On this basis, on March 23, 2020, the members of the Water Coalition and the France Freedom Foundation launched the Appeal for water security for all inhabitants of the Earth (Appel pour la sécurité hydrique de all habitants de la Terre), so that this right would be recognized for all.
In particular, they write: “Water! Water! On our blue planet! But what water? For whom? In what moment? Under what conditions? These are vital questions for the future of humanity. The health disaster caused by coronavirus is at the center of today’s concerns. The climate crisis that has already begun will also have catastrophic planetary consequences for the most fragile inhabitants of the Earth. As part of the lessons to be learned from what is happening and what is to come, it is essential to ensure our collective security, which is seriously threatened by the growing scarcity of water, which is essential for all life. This is what leads us to propose the creation of a Citizen Council for Water Safety at all levels: local, regional, national, continental, and also global.”
The UN “estimates that, without changing course, by 2030 the planet will face a water shortage of 40%. It can already be felt today. The drought affects not only regions that are known to lack water, but also Belgium, France, northern Italy and Germany. However, we continue with the depredation of the water resource without limits or awareness.”
One of the largest coal mines in the world, El Cerrejon in Colombia, consumes 34 million liters of water per day, while Wallonia (which has 3.8 million inhabitants) requires 452 million liters of water every day for all combined activities (drink, hygiene, health, food, housing, industrial activities, services, etc.).
“Until recently, water was considered an abundant resource and the authorities and economic actors did not seem to have any concern for the billions of people without access to drinking water and sanitation services, as is still the case today for 2,1 billion and 4,2 billion human beings, respectively.”
The business world, by contrast, currently ranks water insecurity and its effects among the top five global challenges for the coming years. “But legislators seem to only care about the security of the water supply for the economy. In fact, if there is a lack of water, what will become of the large multinationals such as Coca-Cola, Nestle, Danone, Unilever, Solvay, Arcelor-Mittal, BASF, winter sports, Barilla pasta, the cement industry, the production of microcircuits, and the production of hydroelectric energy?”
Water security runs the risk of becoming an object of reappropriation by economic and financial groups (security for the economy) and the most powerful states for geopolitical reasons (so-called national security). If this were the case, the world would face new “water wars”, more devastating than those experienced in the past centuries.
“Do we have to prepare for it?” Water wars are avoidable, but we need “a realistic culture and a water security policy” that aims “at collective security, integrating a vision and a purpose of life worthy for all inhabitants of the Earth.”
“Humanity and other living species do not need conflicts over this resource, but new rules and leaders willing to build a different world, less violent and that avoids this ongoing decline.”
So, here is “this call for mobilization without borders in favor of water security for all. Let us not let the predation of water in the name of the strongest interests take over the destiny of the Earth. Justice for water for all inhabitants of the earth urgently requires a great act of global political courage: the planetary security of the first res publica in the world that is water for life.”
Original article: Appel pour la sécurité hydrique de tous les habitants de la Terre Learn more: Water security for all: Plenary and What is Water Security? Infographic