Vettä ja sanitaatiota kaikille

Vesi on kestävän kehityksen ja köyhyyden vähentämisen ehdoton edellytys, ministeri Hautala totesi “Human Right to Water and Sanitation” -seminaarissa. Ministeri toivoo, että pian alkavassa Rio+20-kokouksessa kansainvälinen yhteisö sitoutuu varmistamaan veden ja sanitaation saatavuuden kaikille vuoteen 2030 mennessä.[:] 

“Human Right to Water and Sanitation:
Making It Work in Practice?”

12.6. 2012 13.00

KEMI Hautala

Check against delivery
Water and sanitation as a human right

– It is a pleasure for me to welcome you all to this half-day workshop, World Bank Director Jose Luis Irigoyen, Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) Manager Jae So, other colleagues from the WSP, donor community and the Finnish water sector; Dear Participants.

– Water is a critical prerequisite for sustainable development, including poverty eradication, food and energy security, public health, women’s rights and equity. Population growth, urbanization, consumption and production patterns and climate change are all increasing pressures to our water resources. In many areas the degradation of ground waters poses a serious threat. It has been estimated that if we continue with business as usual, in two decades we will have globally 40 per cent less freshwater resources available than what is needed.

– Earlier this spring we received good news: the Millennium Development Goal target to reduce by half the proportion of people without access to improved drinking water resource has been met. However, there is still the other half, 780 million people who lack access to improved drinking water. At the same time, the target for sanitation is off track and unlikely to be met by 2015. There are huge disparities between and within countries. Besides accelerating the progress, we need to find more ways to ensure its equitability. Besides meeting the quantitative targets, we need to pay more attention to the qualitative measures, such as safety and sustainability.

– It is clear that sanitation needs now special attention. Safeguarded sanitation allocations in national budgets and/or programmes are rare and the policy coherence between related sector policies (water – health – education) is at times difficult. Sanitation too often falls in between.

– Tomorrow our colleagues resume their work on the negotiations on the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, the so called Rio+20 Conference, when the Preparatory Committee starts in Rio. Also the reference to water and sanitation as a human right is among the paragraphs on which the final agreement is still to be reached. Finland is a strong supporter of reaffirming the right to safe and clean water and sanitation, following the UN General Assembly resolution from 2010 and numerous resolutions in the Human Rights Council. It is important that the international community does not deviate from previous commitments.

– In my view, reaffirming this right in Rio+20 would serve also as a tool to ensure that the global community will continue its efforts to get access to water and sanitation to people still lacking these basic services. Because that is what we need: the right to water and sanitation needs both to be recognized and realized, and in my view these two sides are mutually supportive.
Finnish development cooperation policy – clearly labeled as human rights based

– Finland’s approach to development is strongly human rights based. Its aim is that also the poorest and most vulnerable people know their rights and are able to advocate for them. It is equally important that the authorities know their human rights obligations and are capable of implementing them. We emphasise the rights of women, children, minorities and indigenous peoples, and people with disability.

– In water and sanitation it means that we support the rights holders – the people – in becoming aware of their rights and being able to demand their fulfillment. We implement programs in which the rights holders and local communities take part in the decision making. On the other hand, we support the duty bearers – the public authorities – in being able to provide the services through investment in infrastructure and services, as well as by capacity building.

– Later today You will hear an example from Far-Western Nepal. Another successful example is from our cooperation with Ethiopia, where our long-term rural water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programme has led into nationally owned financing channel for water supply and sanitation. In this so called Community Managed Project model the rural communities own and manage the projects themselves, and later also arrange their operation and maintenance. As stipulated in WSP conducted review from 2010, the sustainability of these water points is significantly higher than usually and recently this community managed project model has been mainstreamed into several other Ethiopian regions as one of the government’s own implementation models.

– Strengthening the rights based approach to water supply, sanitation and hygiene, both in our partner countries and globally is one of the priorities of our Development Policy Program on water sector. Another one is to promote equitable and sustainable management of water resources, including transboundary waters. Transboundary questions have been challenging in Rio negotiations, like in any global setting. But to ensure balance between different uses and users of water resources that are becoming increasingly stressed, we need more cooperation and better international instruments.

– Water also plays a central role as a part of green economy. Water-related green technologies contribute to the achievement of the MDGs, particularly related to the access to safe drinking water and sanitation as well as to ensuring food security. Green economy is also one of the main focus areas of the Finnish development policy.
Finnish cooperation in the water and sanitation sector

– The water sector is one of the key areas of Finnish development policy and cooperation. At present, Finland’s main partner countries in the water sector are Ethiopia, Kenya, Nepal and Vietnam. In addition, Finland has cooperation in Sudan, South Sudan, Somaliland, Zambia and the Palestinian Territories, and regional cooperation programmes in the Nile and Mekong river basins, at Lake Victoria and in the Caucasus and Central Asia.

– In all its international efforts, the Finnish water sector aims to promote water security. Water security is understood as reducing risks related to the well-being of individuals and communities, and as minimizing risks related to food security, energy security and other vital needs of societies. We address water security at various levels, from households to communities and all the way to the national, regional and international levels.

– We have a long experience in community-based approaches for water supply and sanitation. We are also making horizontal use of our experience when collaborating with our partner countries in applying community-based water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and promoting a Rights- Based Approach to water.

– In our development cooperation budget, water is well positioned, the water sector ODA being almost 10% of the core ODA budget, averaging to almost 50 million euro expenditures annually. The water portfolio has more than tripled in four years time and the entire water sector funding is at it’s all time high. Quite interestingly some 90 % of the funding is directed to countries that are recovering from conflicts and/or are fragile states. In these situations pro-poor service delivery is at the core of the functions.

– Finnish cooperation with the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) began in the 1980s and continued for some years in the 1990s. After a decade´s long absence Finland resumed the work with WSP in 2007. Initially, cooperation was focused on Ethiopia. Currently, the main focus is on WSP’s Africa program in Sub-Saharan Africa. The WSP has become one of Finland’s key international Water Sector partners in Global level.


– In conclusion, I hope that the global community will commit itself in Rio to achieving universal access to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation for all by 2030, as well as to improving water efficiency and reducing pollution. MDGs have shown that setting global goals helps us to draw both decision makers´ and lay peoples´ attention to global challenges. We have still time to MDG deadline of 2015 and we need to continue working seriously to achieve them, especially on sanitation.

– But the discussion on post-2015 development agenda is starting on different fora, and one of the outcomes of Rio might be the creation of Sustainable Development Goals. Bearing in mind the critical role of water, and the fact that it is turning more and more into a critical resource, it seems obvious that the new goals should include water.

– I wish you all a fruitful and inspiring workshop.