The principle of accountability in the context of the human rights to safe drinking 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-third session of the General Assembly in 2018 on the principle of accountability in the context of the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation.
Accountability implies that actors involved in provision and regulation of water and sanitation services must have clearly defined duties and responsibilities and performance standards (“responsibility”); actors must be answerable to affected people and groups for their actions and decisions, which includes access to information in a transparent manner (“answerability”); and mechanisms should be in place that monitors actors’ compliance with established standards, imposes sanctions and ensures that corrective and remedial action are taken (“enforceability”)1.
The Special Rapporteur departs his initial analysis on the topic from a broad interpretation of the principle of accountability and focuses on the relationship of State and non-State actors2 involved in policy-making, provision and regulation of water and sanitation services to the people affected by their actions and decisions.
The Special Rapporteur is seeking information on mechanisms that enable individuals and groups to hold those actors accountable for ensuring the rights to the safe drinking water and sanitation. He, therefore, requests information on good examples, as well as main challenges encountered in establishing, using and implementing such mechanisms. Accountability mechanisms may include, among others, processes of participation, monitoring, oversight, information, as well as judicial, quasi-judicial, administrative, political mechanisms.
All concerned stakeholders are invited to submit their contributions by responding to the questionnaire
no later than 15 March 2018. 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.
Please keep responses to a maximum of 5 pages (or 3,000 words), and provide links to information or documents when available. Preferably sent via email to:
For any questions, please send an email to
Questionnaire to States:
Questionnaire to non-State actors:
1. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, “Who will be accountable? Human Rights and the Post-2015 Development Agenda” (2013), p. 10.
2. Non-State actors may include, but are not limited to: businesses, private actors, development organisations, non-governmental organisations, among others.
List Non-State Actors: