"There is enough water for human need, but not for human greed." - Mahatma Gandhi
Though water is the essence of life, it has not been incorporated into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). As we were commemorating the 60th anniversary and asking you what image opened your eyes to human rights, we took note of Article 31, a campaign working to establish access to clean and potable water as a fundamental human right. On the campaign's site, which is collecting signatures calling for the adoption of this right, they write:
"In 1948, the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were ratified by all the nations of the world. These 30 articles guaranteed a broad sweep of human rights across many human endeavors, from Life to Liberty to Freedom of Thought. Now, sixty years later, recognizing that over a billion people across the planet lack access to clean and potable water and that millions die each year as a result, it is imperative to add one more article to this historic declaration, the Right to Water."
In the New Year, we will continue to spotlight some of the most pressing human rights of the day - and how video is being integrated in campaigns to address them. Is water a human right? This is one question that has sparked some interesting conversations online and helped us find an increasing number of campaigns that are working on water issues - from the lack of access to clean water to corporate control of water - and how they are using video to change minds and policy to ensure everyone has access to clean water.
To start, here are two videos that support water-related campaigns. We will be adding to this list, but please help us! Add videos and campaigns working to address water as a human right in the comments section - and tell us what you think about these campaigns.
Spotlight on 2 Water-Rights Campagins
WITNESS partner, El Salvador's Democracia Azul, has a few short videos to support their water-rights campaign. Here is their first (in Spanish):
In this interview from the documentary THE WATER FRONT, Maude Barlow speaks about the global water crisis and how water is the liquid gold of the 21st century. This documentary links up to two of my favorite water campaigns:
Data from the UN Human Development Report on how water problems affect half of humanity:
+ Some 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water, and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation.
+ Almost two in three people lacking access to clean water survive on less than $2 a day, with one in three living on less than $1 a day.
+ More than 660 million people without sanitation live on less than $2 a day, and more than 385 million on less than $1 a day.
+ Access to piped water into the household averages about 85% for the wealthiest 20% of the population, compared with 25% for the poorest 20%.
+ 1.8 billion people who have access to a water source within 1 kilometre, but not in their house or yard, consume around 20 litres per day. In the United Kingdom the average person uses more than 50 litres of water a day flushing toilets (average total daily water usage is about 150 liters; The highest average water use in the world is in the U.S., at 600 liters day).
+ Some 1.8 million child deaths happen each year as a result of diarrhea.
+ Close to half of all people in developing countries suffer at any given time from health problems caused by water and sanitation deficits.
+ Millions of women spend several hours a day collecting water.
+ To these human costs can be added the massive economic waste associated with the water and sanitation deficit.... The costs associated with health spending, productivity losses and labour diversions ... are greatest in some of the poorest countries. Sub-Saharan Africa loses
about 5% of its GDP, or some $28.4 billion annually, a figure that exceeds total aid flows and debt relief to the region in 2003.
Additional resources I found interesting...
Pacific Institute's World Water Data Center