The sixth sustainable development goal considers the availability and affordable management of water and sanitation for all as a fundamental right. This claim is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and, more recently, it has been reaffirmed by the United Nations General Assembly who appeals to the national Governments to promote this issue and take it forward (The Right to Development, A/RES/54/175, 15 February 2000).
Nowadays, the Asian Water Development Outlook (AWDO) reports that Asian and Pacific Countries are slightly improving the drinking water availability (Asian Water Development Outlook 2016). Anyway, the available data in 2016 highlights that access to water supplies is still an existing problem in this area. Approximately one billion and seven hundred thousand people cannot get access to appropriate sanitation and, considering the skyrocketing increase of population in this area within 2050, affordable management of clean water is becoming more and more urgent.
The Philippine’s National Water Resources Board (NWRB), according to the Water Code of the Philippines approved in 2005, states the free use of water for purely domestic purposes, like drinking, cleaning and cooking. This legislation is an improvement for the poorer strata of society; however, these efforts are not enough.
Improving drinking-water supply remains a priority in the poorer areas of the Philippines who are particularly vulnerable as a consequence of their economy mainly rural , the large amount of people and the devastating impact of recurring natural catastrophes.
Everybody should help to reach the goal – National Governments, International Organisations, International Cooperation Agencies and private investors. A free catch-all service is needed and it should be granted for all, including discriminated groups as sentenced by international human rights law.
Kito Onlus works for this very purpose planning to build pit-toilets and sinks in thirteen schools in Mindoro Island to provide kids’ sanitation. The project is finalized to eradicate children’s diseases that may infect also their families and communities.
To learn more: Outcome of the international experts’ meeting on the right to water, Paris, 7 and 8 July 2009, UNESCO.