Topic

The subject is ‘Water is Life’.
It is recommended that you conduct thorough research as the topic is wide-ranging in scope, touching not just on biological aspects of life but also on political and economic issues.

Water is a human right

People cannot live without water. Nevertheless, almost 900 million people worldwide do not have access to clean drinking water. Although the United Nations has now formerly recognised the right to clean water as a human right, it cannot be legally enforced.

On Wednesday the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution, which was introduced by Bolivia and supported by 333 other countries, by a vote of 122 in favour to none against.

However, 41 countries abstained from the voting, including the United States and several other western countries. "This resolution describes a right to water and sanitation in a way that is not reflective of existing international law," said the representative from Washington. "It was not drafted in a transparent, inclusive manner and the United States will abstain on this resolution."

"Around two thirds of our bodies consist of water; some 75% of our brain is made up of water," said Bolivia’s UN Ambassador, Pablo Solón. "Water is the principal vehicle for the electrochemical transmissions of our body and helps to regulate the temperature of our body. It is possible to survive for several weeks without food, but it is not possible to survive more than a few days without water." Nevertheless, millions of people have to survive everyday without clean water.

"Diarrhoea is the second largest cause of death among children. Lack of access to potable water kills more people than AIDS, malaria and smallpox combined." Solón paused for a moment before the General Assembly. "That was just three and a half seconds. Every three and a half seconds a child dies because it does not have clean water."

The right to clean water is not binding under international law. The right is not even enforceable in countries that have signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which automatically includes all 192 UN members.

Nevertheless, its establishment has considerable symbolic value and will certainly have an influence on government policies and the United Nations.
In the year 2000, the United Nations set itself the goal of halving the number of people without access to clean drinking water by 2015.
Source: Financial Times Deutschland (2010)