The impact of mega-projects on the human rights to water and sanitation: report

Published
19 July 2019
Author:
The Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation
Presented:
At the 74th session of the GA
Link:

A/74/197

Friendly version of the Special Rapporteur's report on megaprojects (English | Français | Español)

Training material on impact of mega-projects on the human rights to water and sanitation – fictional case study and sample answers


Background

Pursuant to the UN Human Rights Council resolutions 27/7 of 2014 and 33/10 of 2016, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, Mr. Léo Heller, will be elaborating his thematic report to the seventy-fourth session of the General Assembly in 2019 the impact of mega-projects on the human rights to water and sanitation.

Consultations were held in the following locations:

  • 13 March 2019, Mexico City, Mexico
    GRULAC Regional consultation on impact of mega-projects on the human rights to water and sanitation (concept note)
  • 12 November 2018, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    Regional expert consultation on impact of mega-projects on the human rights to water and sanitation (concept note)

Summary

Megaprojects are double-edged: they may contribute towards the enhancement of people’s livelihoods but may also impede the enjoyment of the human rights to water and sanitation.

In order to prevent and mitigate the risks arising from such projects and to ensure compliance with human rights, the Special Rapporteur is introducing a megaproject cycle framework for the realization of the human rights to water and sanitation, consisting of seven stages, each of them entailing impacts on access to water and sanitation, challenges and enabling factors to realize the human rights to water and sanitation.

He clarifies each stage of the megaproject cycle and provides a list of questions that constitute guidelines for accountable actors to implement their human rights obligations and responsibilities.

Mega Project Cycle Presentation

Inputs received

Throughout the stages of their lifecycle, megaprojects have a long-lasting impact on various aspects of the society, including human lives, the economy and the environment. Such projects are promoted through a narrative of contributing towards the enhancement of the livelihood of the people, but they often impede the enjoyment of the human rights to water and sanitation. In particular, the extensive usage of land required for the implementation and the massive exploitation of water sources may have dire consequences for the availability and quality of water and, in general, for the way the population accesses water and sanitation services.

The Special Rapporteur observed some of those impacts during his official visits, and also addressed them in allegation letters.

As part of his research, the Special Rapporteur collected information on how mega-projects impact the realization of the human rights to water and sanitation at each stages of its project cycle.

For the purpose of this questionnaire, the term “mega-projects” refers to projects that causes significant impacts on the human rights to water and sanitation and on other related rights and that meet at least one of the following criteria: (1) wide land use and/or large modification of water resources; (2) long-implementation period.

All concerned stakeholders are invited to submit their contributions by responding to the questionnaire by 15 March 2019.

Questionnaire to States: English | Français | Español
Questionnaire to civil society organizations: English | Français | Español
Questionnaire to business enterprises: Online survey

States

Civil society organizations and individuals

Mega projects cycle


Special Procedures
Special Rapporteur on water and sanitation
Recent thematic reports
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Contact information

Mr. Pedro Arrojo-Agudo, Special Rapporteur on Water and Sanitation

OHCHR-UNOG
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneve 10, Switzerland

 

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