Human Rights Commissioner Kofler on World Water Day

23.03.2020 - Press release

Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement to mark World Water Day on 22 March:

We need water to survive. The human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, first expressly named by the General Assembly ten years ago in Resolution 64/292, are therefore an extremely important achievement. The German Government traditionally works together with Spain to promote the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation as part of the right to an adequate standard of living, both in the Human Rights Council and in the UN General Assembly.

Unfortunately, the realisation of these human rights is still a distant prospect in this anniversary year. According to UN figures, 2.2 billion people still have no access to safe water. How disastrous these figures are has become all too clear in the current Covid19 pandemic. Washing hands regularly saves lives. However, this preventive measure, which is so easy for us in Germany to put into practice, continues to be impossible for many people in other countries around the world.

With a view to advancing the realisation of the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation globally, the German Government funds many projects each year. For although water is a precious resource which we have to treat with care, especially against the backdrop of climate change, the health of many people must not be put at risk because it is not possible for them to use sanitary facilities and the necessary hygiene items.

Background information:

Since 1993, World Water Day has been held annually on 22 March. It came about as a result of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. In 2020, the motto of World Water Day is “Water and Sustainable Development”.

The aim of this day is to make the general public in particular aware of the importance of water to humankind. All states are called upon to devote World Water Day to implementing the UN recommendation and to carrying out appropriate concrete measures at national level.


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