Workshop on Water as a Human Right for the Middle East and North African Countries

February 11, 2006 | Cairo, Egypt

Access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation is essential for human survival and for maintenance of a decent quality of life. More than a billion people do not have access to safe drinking water and more than 2 billion people lack proper sanitation. In 1992, the United Nations proclaimed that water should be considered to be a human right. This position, however, has not been accepted by many developed and developing countries.

The workshop analyzed the legal developments of the concept of water as a human right; implications for the national governments, and international and national organisations for the implementation of this concept; progress made in different Middle East and North African countries to provide every individual access to clean water and sanitation, constraints faced to assure universal access to water-related services and how these constraints can be overcome, and an overall research agenda in areas where more knowledge is necessary.

Leading experts from the MENA region, as well as a few well-known international experts from outside the region, participated in this workshop. The meeting was organized under the joint sponsorship of the Middle East and North African Regional Office, International Development Research Centre, Cairo, Egypt, and the Third World Centre for Water Management.