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Explanation of Position: Water and Sanitation
September 27, 2012

September 27, 2012

The United States is pleased to join consensus today on the resolution, “The human right to safe drinking water and sanitation.”  We thank the co-sponsors for working with us to reach agreed language.

This resolution highlights the important global issue of ensuring access to safe drinking water and sanitation on a non-discriminatory basis.  The United States takes domestic and international water and sanitation issues seriously, and strongly supports the goal of universal access to both of these resources.  We likewise recognize the importance of meeting basic water needs to support physical and mental health, economic development, and peace and security.

The United States has a long standing commitment to international development and has put substantial resources behind that commitment.  In a March 2012 speech on World Water Day, Secretary Clinton announced the implementation of the U.S. Water Partnership, which aims to improve water security around the world by utilizing U.S.-based knowledge, expertise, and resources.  She noted that, “We believe this Water Partnership will help map out our route to a more water secure world: a world where no one dies from water-related diseases; where water does not impede social or economic development; and where no war is ever fought over water.”

We would like to state that we join consensus on this resolution today and read this resolution’s references to the right to safe drinking water and sanitation in accordance with our July 27, 2011 statement in New York at the UNGA plenary meeting and our September 29, 2011 and September 30, 2010 statements here in Geneva on safe drinking water and sanitation.   Overall, while OP 11 calls on states to promote various laudable goals, the drafting of some parts of this paragraph remain too specific, while others too broad.

The United States believes this resolution should be read to provide the greatest possible flexibility to governments as they try to address the critical challenges involved in providing safe drinking water and sanitation to their citizens and attempt to implement the progressive realization of this right.

The United States looks forward to continued engagement and discussion.