Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (22 March 2017) to mark World Water Day:
80 percent of the waste water produced around the world flows back into the ecosystem untreated. Diseases such as cholera, dysentery, typhoid fever and polio, which still cause many fatalities every year, can to a large extent be attributed to dirty drinking water and poor sanitation.
Waste water which has been thoroughly treated is both an affordable and sustainable source of water and energy, as well as nutrients and recyclable materials, that we can no longer do without. Too little use is still made of this resource.
Since 2008, Germany has been engaged in international efforts to achieve the recognition of a human right to clean drinking water and basic sanitation. In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly for the first time passed a resolution that officially recognises a human right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation. Together with Spain, Germany has every two years introduced resolutions in the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly that aim to further strengthen and implement these rights. The Federal Government supports the work of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, Léo Heller, in order to raise the profile of human rights. Furthermore, the Federal Government supports plans to improve the efficiency of the global water architecture, as part of a forward-looking foreign policy that can identify and defuse at an early stage conflicts that arise also due to ever scarcer resources.