25 October 2016, New York – European Union Intervention at the 71st United Nations General Assembly Third Committee Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation
The EU welcomes Special Rapporteur’s report on the international cooperation in the fields of water and sanitation and thanks for his participation in this debate. As one of the major international cooperation and development donors worldwide, the EU is especially interested in the findings of this report.
For the EU, water and sanitation is among the most important intervention sectors within the 11th European Development Fund. In fact, WASH is a priority sector in several regional programmes, and is also mainstreamed in other sectors such as food security and nutrition, agriculture, energy, regional integration, environment or peace and security. Water and Sanitation are also some of the key goals of the Agenda 2030, namely targets 6.1 and 6.2, access to universal, equitable access to safe drinking water and access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all – and contribute to several other SDGs as well. Under current European Development Fund, the EU contribution to water and sanitation projects reaches € 810 mln.
As it is rightly pointed out in the report, adopting a Human Rights Based approach to programming, implementation and monitoring is essential in order to ensure that interventions do not result in negative impacts in the enjoyment of Human Rights. HRBA highlights the ensuring of non-discrimination and participation in all interventions. It’s only trough inclusive dialogue and meaningful participation that we can ensure effective, targeted and innovative solutions to development problems and sustainable results in poverty eradication. . Our commitment to HRBA is outlined in the “EU strategic framework and action plan on human rights and democracy”, adopted by the EU Council. All EU-funded programmes and projects are analysed against human rights standards and principles.
In his report the special rapporteur also made a valuable comment on the necessity to align international projects with national priorities, or in other words facilitating national ownership. We wish to highlight the EU’s commitment to the Paris Principles and are glad the report recognizes the EU’s endeavors in this regard.
On the other hand, the report underlines that standards for International Financial Institutions, which aim at providing finance for mega-infrastructure projects, do not always comply with a Human Rights Based approach.
In order to raise existing standards, we would like to ask the Special Rapporteur what would be the best way to enhance institutional internal procedures so as to make sure that the international cooperation community as a whole adopts a Human Rights approach, and stands on the same note.
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