22 March 2023
14:30 - 16:30 Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Location: Church Center for the United Nations, 777 United Nations Plaza, New York and online via Zoom
This is a hybrid event. Click here to register if you wish to join in person or online.
Organizers: World Council of Churches, International Partnership on Religion and Development, Lutheran World Federation, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, World Evangelical Alliance.
About 2 billion people do not have access to safely managed drinking water and about half of world’s population do not have access to safely managed sanitation facilities. While governments, UN and CSOs are engaged in addressing the water crisis, Blue Community is an initiative that safeguards water as human right and as a public good. It is a very simple tool that communities, parishes, universities, schools, museums, and other entities can use to advocate for equitable and sustainable access to water at the local level.
At the center of the initiative are four principles which have to be respected by each Blue Community:
- Recognize that water is a human right.
- advocate that water services should remain in the hands of public authorities and say no to privatization of water.
- say «No» to bottled water where tap water is safe to drink or look for sustainable alternatives.
- promote public-public-partnerships models to address water scarcity.
Unfortunately, today water has become a tradable commodity where water for profit over water for life has become the norm for the corporations and even for some governments. While government and even the United Nations has been calling for Public Private Partnership, there is a danger of promoting privatization of water. Thus the blue communities are formed to promote the above mentioned principles to safeguard the human right to water and keeping the control of water in the hands of public. Blue communities are also encouraging re-municipalization of water services in many countries.
World Council of Churches (WCC), a global fellowship of churches comprising of over half a billion protestant and orthodox Christians. WCC is a blue community and thereby all its members are encouraged to become a blue community. 80% of world’s population identifies with a faith community. Often Faith Based Organizations (FBOs) are first responders in the communities and they have huge infrastructure such as schools, colleges, hospitals, etc. Thus faith / religious communities have tremendous potentials to transform the communities and societies to address the water crisis. For the UN as well as the governments, not engaging the FBOs and religious bodies in addressing SDG 6 is a lost opportunity.
- Prof. Pedro Arrojo-Agudo, UN Special Rapporteur, human right to water
- Dr Maude Barlow, Founder of Blue Community, Canada
- Rev. Dr Kenneth Mtata, Director, PWD, World Council of Churches, Geneva
- Bishop Arnold Temple, President, All Africa Conference of Churches, Africa
- Archbishop Dr Thomas Paul Schirrmacher, Secretary General, WEA, Germany
- Dr. Iyad Abumoghli, Director, Faith for Earth, UNEP
- Elizabeth Koch, Senior Manager, Environmental Law Institute, USA
- Dinesh Suna, Coordinator, Ecumenical Water Network, World Council of Churches, Geneva
- Christine Mangale, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, USA
This side event of 90 minutes will directly address to the UN Water Conference Interactive Dialogue 1: Water for Health: Access to WASH, including the Human Rights to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation.