The manifesto amplifies the voices of the unheard frontline water defenders and insists that fundamental issues be placed at the center of water policies at the global, regional, national, and international levels.
“Access to water and sanitation are fundamental human rights,” the manifesto reads. “Water is a common good, and must be accessible to all without discrimination, under public control and not a commodity.”
Water policies must also prioritize the sustainable management of rivers, lakes, wetlands, springs, and aquifers, the manifesto notes.
The manifesto also emphasizes the distinct and inherent rights of Indigenous people, as well as those living in rural populations or informal urban settlements.
“Privatization, commodification or financialization of water and sanitation services are a risk to the fulfillment of human rights, and should therefore not be considered as policies at the global, national or local level, as well as in international cooperation.” Calling for an alternative paradigm of partnership the manifesto calls to “promote public ownership and management, strengthened through public-public and public-community partnerships.”The manifesto also demands that the UN prioritize dialogue and collaboration with frontline communities in the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 6, “including Indigenous peoples, peasant communities, those living in informal settlements, populations discriminated against on the basis of gender, descent, and class, and all those who still do not have guaranteed access to safe drinking water and sanitation.”
The manifesto concludes with the demand for a “home” for water at the UN by creating a multilateral intergovernmental mechanism to address the water crisis to regulate and monitor commitments on water and sanitation, one that is truly accountable to people as rights holders, not dominated by corporations or controlled by international financial institutions.
The WCC is represented at the UN Water Conference in New York by Rev. Dr Kenneth Mtata, Programme Director, Public Witness and Diakonia, and WCC Ecumenical Water Network.