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News Right to Water and Sanitation must be put into action! Universal access is a government responsibility!

On World Water Day, 22 March 2011, the European Federation of Public Services Unions (EPSU) calls on the European Union and Member States to implement the United Nations resolution on the Right to Water and Sanitation without delay.

The UN General Assembly voted on 28 July 2010 for this resolution which declares that access to water and sanitation services is a fundamental human right. Although this resolution has no binding authority, it expresses global consensus. Shamefully several EU Member States abstained. That is why EPSU calls upon the EU again to put in place this right for Europe’s citizens.

It is imperative that governments dedicate the necessary resources to ensure universal access to water and sanitation at an affordable price. Most governments can afford to do this, yet choose not to. This is a political problem, not a market problem. It is up to workers and trade unions, in alliance with civil society and other progressive forces to impose the necessary political pressure.

EPSU repeats its support for the European Parliament declaration to keep the management of water resources not subject to internal market rules. It also states its support for public ownership and management of water and water utilities. Privatisation has induced inequalities and exclusion and has often led to steep water-rate hikes, water-service disruptions and unaccountable management. A recent trend is a return to public management of water services. Local governments’ awareness of market failures in public services is increasing.

We believe that water and sanitation services are a fundamental responsibility of governments and must not be outsourced for private profit. These are essential Quality Public Services that our families and communities depend on. Water is life.

Contact information Pablo Sanchez: The European Federation of Public Services Unions (EPSU) (email:
Phone: +32 4 74 62 66 33
News type Inbrief
File link
Source of information The European Federation of Public Services Unions (EPSU)
Keyword(s) right to water
Geographical coverage n/a
News date 06/04/2011
Working language(s) ENGLISH