UN special rapporteur water visit to WCC

United Nations special rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, Prof. Pedro Arrojo-Agudo (second from right) during the visit to the WCC headquarters in Geneva on 16 September. In this photo, Arrojo-Agudo is accompanied by Dinesh Suna, coordinator of the WCC Ecumenical Water Network, Ahreum Lee, human rights officer at the Sustainable Human Development Section of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Rev. Dr Odair Pedroso Mateus, WCC deputy general secretary.


Arrojo-Agudo is in Geneva for the 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council, where he presented his first report on 15 September at the interactive dialogue session. He emphasized in his report that water is a public good essential for life and health and therefore should not be subjected to commodification and financialization.

Later, through a conference call, several other WCC colleagues as well as the WCC Ecumenical Water Network International Reference Group members joined him for a discussion at the WCC on his mandate, vision and priority, and the support of faith-based organisations.

Arrojo-Agudo was appointed in November 2020 as the 3rd Special Rapporteur on the human rights to water. He has opened a consultative  process to shape his vision, mission and priority, holding in less than one year over 30 consultations with various stakeholders. His first report to the UN Human Rights Council was greatly influenced by these consultations.

Rev. Dr Odair Pedroso Mateus, WCC interim deputy secretary, welcomed Arrojo-Agudo to the Ecumenical Centre and expressed his gratitude for the mandates collaboration with the WCC Ecumenical Water Network to address the global water crisis.

During the meeting, Dinesh Suna, coordinator of WCC Ecumenical Water Network, said: The civil society organisations and the faith-based organizations are excited about this open consultative process initiated by his mandate, where they are assured that their voices will be heard and acted upon.”

On the forthcoming World Water Forum (WWF)  in 2022, Arrojo-Agudo appreciated that this platform is available for the water community. But at the same time he desired for more broader participation of all stakeholders in the WWF  including CSOs and FBOs to address the global water crisis. Further he hopes the UN Water to play pivotal role in facilitating this participatory process in such a global forum.

Peter Prove, director of the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, in his closing remarks, expressed the commitment and support of WCC through the Ecumenical Water Network to the mandate of the special rapporteur.

Arrojo-Agudo assured a future collaboration and sought contributions and comments to his first report to the UN General Assembly on 20 October on commodification and financialization of water.

Pedro Arrojo-Agudo report to the United Nations Human Rights Council 2021

Pedro Arrojo-Agudo report to the Unted Nations General Assembly 2021