Quenching The Thirst
Water is a vital necessity in humans life, it is an essential building block of life. It is more than just essential to quench thirst or protect health; water is vital for creating jobs and supporting economic, social, and human development.
Water and Children
Without water, children simply cannot survive. When forced to rely on unsafe water, they are at risk of deadly diseases and severe malnutrition. Every day, more than 800 children under 5 die from diarrhoea linked to inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene.Unsafe water and sanitation are also linked to stunted growth. Around 156 million children under five years old suffer from stunting, which causes irreversible physical and cognitive damage and impacts children’s performance in school.
The deprivations caused by a lack of safe water and sanitation can compound and affect children’s health, education and future prospects, creating a cycle of inequality that affects generations.
Sustainable development goal number six is about to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.”This goal addresses the entire water cycle and it outlines targets to manage water under scarce conditions, maintain water for ecosystems and improve management of wastewater.
Water is a human right – A child’s right
Water and sanitation are fundamental to human health and dignity. In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly acknowledged that clean water and sanitation are essential to realizing human rights.
Acknowledging the right to water was an important step towards realizing many other internationally recognized human rights and established a foundation for public health and universal human development. Several international human rights treaties refer explicitly to the importance of water and sanitation, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
As with all socioeconomic rights, recognizing the right to water and sanitation creates immediate and long-term obligations. In September 2010, the UN Human Rights Council reaffirmed that the right to water and sanitation were part of existing international law, thus confirming that these rights are legally binding on Member States.
However, climate change is increasingly undermining the realization of these rights by affecting the water cycle, a most vital resource. To establish climate change policies that embrace the interconnected and interdependent nature of human rights, a more holistic and inter sectoral approach is required. The rights connected to water and sanitation include the basic right to health, food and an adequate standard of living.
Climate change will infringe on children’s right to safe water. Action and coherent policy to address the risks of climate change will be needed to safeguard children’s right to safe water. “Children have the right.
Facts and Figures
- 2.1 billion people live without safe water at home.
- One in four primary schools have no drinking water service, with pupils using unprotected sources or going thirsty.
- More than 700 children under five years of age die every day from diarrhoea linked to unsafe water and poor sanitation.
- Globally, 80% of the people who have to use unsafe and unprotected water sources live in rural areas.
- Women and girls are responsible for water collection in eight out of ten households with water off-premises.
- For the 68.5 million people who have been forced to flee their homes, accessing safe water services is highly problematic.
- Around 159 million people collect their drinking water from surface water, such as ponds and streams.
- Around 4 billion people – nearly two-thirds of the world’s population – experience severe water scarcity during at least one month of the year.
- Over 800 women die every day from complications in pregnancy and childbirth.
- 700 million people worldwide could be displaced by intense water scarcity by 2030.
Additional Information adapted from:
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