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Thematic reports

A/78/253: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, Pedro Arrojo Agudo - Water as an argument for peace, twinning and cooperation


28 July 2023

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Over half of the global population resides in countries sharing transboundary rivers, lakes or aquifers, making transboundary management essential for ensuring the rights to water and sanitation. Power asymmetries, inadequate and irresponsible application of the principle of national sovereignty, the growing impacts of climate change and the limitations of international law make it difficult to develop transboundary agreements that allow for sustainable and equitable management of transboundary waters, generating serious risks to the human security of hundreds of millions of people, producing mass migrations and serious risks of destabilization in entire regions.

To overcome these challenges, it is necessary to move from traditional approaches of managing water as a resource to ecosystem and human rights approaches at the basin level, developing the principles of equity, reciprocity and sustainability promoted by international water and human rights legislation. This means prioritizing the needs of populations and promoting cross-border public participation in the negotiation and development of agreements and institutions at the basin level, guaranteeing the participation of the most vulnerable populations in their capacity as rights-holders, and very particularly the effective participation of women.

Issued By:

Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation