13.15 Strategies for the safe management of drinking-water for human consumption

As recommended by EB128, the Assembly will consider Document A64/24 which is a report by the Secretariat on Strategies for the safe management of drinking-water for human consumption.

WHA Watch comments

The report by the secretariat on the Strategies for the safe management of drinking-water for human consumption (doc. A64/24) states that the quality of drinking-water is a powerful determinant of health. However, there is overwhelming evidence that the QUANTITY of water available for hygienic purposes even more than the quality of drinking water is a major determinant of not just health but also of household productivity. The fact that a large part of humanity still does not have access to suffient clean water is mainly due to the loss of community ownership and control over this vital public good. In fact, an aggressive privatization of both water supplies and water resources is on-going globally and contributes to increasing costs and limiting access.

In regards to drinking water, the continued promotion of bottled, instead of reticulated clean water supplies, has a huge environmental and social impact and represents a global challenge. The bottled water industry not only contributes to increased cost and waste, but also undermines confidence in government’s ability to provide basic public services.

The issue of access to water cannot be restricted to the quality of drinking water, nor tackled only with a technical approach on water management. It requires WHO to act to increase the access to clean water for hygienic purposes as well as for cooking and drinking and to support strong public water systems. Moreover, monitoring the extent of the implications of privatization and generating systematic knowledge are crucial, as well as the advocacy for public ownership of natural vital resources.

On water WHO must speak up in the interest of none else but the people!