United Nations: The UN General Assembly
today recognised access to clean water and sanitation as a
After more than 15 years of debate on the issue, 122
countries voted in favour of a compromise Bolivian resolution
enshrining the right, while 41 abstained.
The text "declares the right to safe and clean drinking
water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for
the full enjoyment of the right to life."
The resolution laments the fact that 884 million people
lack access to safe drinking water and that more 2.6 billion
do not have access to basic sanitation.
It notes that roughly two million people die every year
from diseases caused by unsafe water and sanitation, most of
them small children.
And it points to the pledge made by world leaders in 2000
as part of the poverty-reduction Millennium Development Goals
(MDGs) to reduce by half, by 2015, the proportion of people
without sustainable access to safe drinking water and