Introductory Statement by Ambassador Christoph Heusgen to propose draft resolution “The Human Rights to safe drinking water and sanitation” for adoption

18.11.2019 - Speech

Mr. Chair,

I am delivering this statement on behalf of Spain and my own country, Germany. Our two delegations would like to propose draft resolution L.33 Rev.1 entitled “The Human Rights to safe drinking water and sanitation” for adoption.

As a technical note, I indicate that the Russian translation in PP27 will be slightly adjusted to reflect the exact meaning of the English text as it has been communicated to the translation service.

Mr. Chair,

Let me first thank all the co-sponsors for their strong support, and express my appreciation to delegations for their constructive approach during the consultations which took place over the past few weeks.

Germany and Spain have decided to focus this year’s resolution on two main issues that directly impact the Human Rights to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation. On the one side, we have stressed the importance of menstrual health and menstrual hygiene management for the full realization of the Human Right to sanitation. Everywhere in the world, women and girls still often lack access to basic hygiene products and gender-sensitive facilities. Also, they often experience stigma and shame surrounding menstruation, which hinders them to realize their full potential, going to school or studying at university. The resolution underlines that menstruation should be recognized as healthy and natural.

On the other side, we have put a focus on climate change. The adverse effects of climate change are impacting the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water – its access and its availability – around the world. This is felt most acutely by those who are in vulnerable situations, for example people living in informal settlements, small island states, indigenous peoples and rural and local communities.

It is a good coincidence that this resolution will be adopted one day ahead of World Toilet Day on 19 November, which, together with World Water Day on 22 March, is an important reminder of what has been achieved. But we also have to think ahead: As long as 144 million people, representing 11% of the global population, still lack basic drinking water service and 673 million people, representing 26% of global population, lack even basic sanitation service, we need to further strengthen our efforts to realize the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation.

We are thankful for the support we have received and, especially, for the inputs of more than 50 Member States during 11 informal consultations, that have enriched the text and fostered passionate discussions during the negotiation.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all Member States that have already cosponsored the draft and encourage all others to cosponsor this important initiative now from the floor.

I thank you Mr. Chair.

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