Water is not a commodity – Towards a global alliance for the human right to water

The context
Water is life, and today it is scarcer than ever beforeWorldwide, 2.2 billion people lack access to safe drinking water services, and 4.2billion lack safe sanitation services. The outlook is aggravated by the global health, inequality, climate, environmental, and economic crises.  

In additioninsufficient regulation of the right to water has led to disputes involving speculation, violence and death, as well as mass migration and shady management by some companies and governments, among other serious byproducts such as industrial pollution and agricultural overexploitation. 

The signs
The coronavirus pandemic has only underscored and exacerbated the great inequalities in access to water. In this moment of great uncertainty and deregulation, on December 7th Wall Street announced the launch of a new stock index – the NQH20 – as the first water futures trading contract in the world. Chile, meanwhile, continues to resist changing a system that privileges economic interests over the fundamental human right of access to water.   

The reasonsThe fundamental aspects of a human life, without which it is degraded or ceases to exist, are not market commodities. On the contrary, precisely because of their relevance, they must be protected as inalienable and non-transferrable rights. No human right is negotiable in any market.  

The opportunity
new state of affairs, with new normalities, has emerged with the pandemicThe time to act is now. Ensuring democratic water governance is an ethical imperative for humanity. Continuing its 11-year trajectory of working to ensure access to clean water, Fundación Avina will accelerate the constitution of all alliances necessary to ensure the universal right to water by 2030, as agreed by the Member States of the United Nations in its Sustainable Development Goals, and will oppose any initiative that puts it at risk, such as the commercialization of the sources and the rights of water. We will not give up until we consolidate a global alliance for water that guarantees the fundamental right of access to clean water.