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

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.

  • The final report (A/74/197) is available in all UN official languages.
  • A user-friendly version of the report is also available.

Mega Project Cycle Presentation

Complementary information from country visits and communication letters

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.

  • See collection of extracted information from the Special Rapporteur's official country visits.
  • See collection of extracted information from the letters of allegations and other communication letters sent by the Special Rapporteur

Consultation process

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)

Consultation process (questionnaire)

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 no later than 15 March 2019. Due to limited capacity for translation, it is kindly requested that responses be submitted, if possible, in English, French or Spanish.

All responses will be posted on the official webpage of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, unless it is indicated that the submission and/or the supporting documentation should be kept confidential.

Response can be limited to selected questions as relevant.

Kindly submit response to srwatsan@ohchr.org 
Questionnaire to StatesEnglish | French | Spanish
Questionnaire to civil society organizationsEnglish | French | Spanish
Questionnaire to business enterprises: Online survey

Submissions from States:

Submission from civil society organizations and individuals:

Mega projects cycle