Saturday, June 19, 2010

Council of Canadians commends UN Right to Water Resolution

NEW YORK, June 18, 2010 /Canada NewsWire Telbec/ - The Council of Canadians was at the United Nations yesterday to support the historic presentation of a resolution on the right to water and sanitation and welcomed Bolivian Ambassador Pablo Solon's promotion of this initiative at the UN General Assembly.

But the Council of Canadians was disturbed to hear that inside a closed-meeting Canadian officials proved themselves once again the greatest obstacle to a resolution that would recognize the right to water and sanitation for the 1.2 billion people without access to clean water and the 2.6 billion without access to basic sanitation.

"We are shamed and outraged by the Harper government's position on this issue," said Maude Barlow, chairperson of the Council of Canadians. "Canadians clearly do not support the denial of these fundamental rights and we condemn this obstructionism which harms the opportunity for progress when so many of the world's most vulnerable people continue to suffer."

Barlow and Anil Naidoo, organizer for the Council of Canadians Blue Planet Project, were also in New York to brief the Group of 77 on water. At the briefing, the Group of 77 chairman, Ambassador al-Saidi of Yemen, announced his support for this resolution as did other influential G-77 countries.

Naidoo said,

"For years, in other UN processes, we have seen Canada obstruct progress on the human right to water. Now the issue is at the General Assembly. If Canadians do not let this government know blocking progress on the human right to water is not acceptable, Canada will be known as the country that blocked the human right to water, a stain that will not easily disappear."

Barlow adds,

"We are overdue for water to be acknowledged as a global priority, passing this resolution would send a strong signal that before the Millennium Development Goal review in September and before the next Earth Summit in 2012, that we are committed as a global community to address the suffering caused by the global water crisis."

She also highlighted this message for the prime minister,

"The right to water and sanitation is clearly an issue related to maternal health. A G20 agenda on maternal health without support for the right to water is a sham."

The next informal consultation on this issue is Wednesday, June 23rd and then in July. Unless it is blocked at the consultation phase, the resolution in its final form will go to the United Nations General Assembly and with its passage there the human right to water and sanitation would be officially recognized by the United Nations.