To become a Blue Community, an institution must officially recognize water and sanitation as a human right, promote public water and wastewater services, and phase out the use and sale of bottled water at events. This initiative can accelerate the achievement of clean water and sanitation for all.
“Churches, as influential institutions, can play a crucial role in promoting and supporting these Blue Communities initiatives,” Bedford-Strohm said. Emphasising the WCC being a Blue Community, he appealed to the member churches of the Lutheran World Federation to also become Blue Communities.
On why faith matters in the water crisis, WCC progamme director for Public Witness and Diakonia Rev. Dr Kenneth Mtata highlighted the theological mandate of water. From the creation story where water is considered a symbol of life, to Jesus saying that “except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God," Mtata pointed out that water always symbolised life. Mtata noted that churches need to ensure the right to water, bearing in mind that water is rare and precious. Further, issues of contamination should be addressed, and rather than being used for conflicts, water should be used for reconciliation, he said.
Prof. Fr Elias Wolff, coordinator of the Ecumenical Water Network Brazil, provided statistics on the situation of the human right to water in Brazil and the steps taken to transform the Blue University of 39,000 students and staff into a Blue Community.
Rev. Kolade Fadahunsi, coordinator of the Ecumenical Water Network Africa stated the purpose of the network in Africa while describing the human right to water in Africa.