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Resolution adopted by consensus* by the 132nd IPU Assembly
(Hanoi, 1 April 2015)

The 132nd Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the resolutions adopted by the 100th Inter-Parliamentary Conference (Moscow, September 1998) and the 130th IPU Assembly (Geneva, March 2014), which acknowledged that freshwater resources are essential to basic human needs, health, food production and the preservation of ecosystems, and highlighted the need to improve water management in order to prevent and mitigate high disaster risks, strengthen resilience and ultimately contribute to sustainable development, respectively,

Recalling the IPU regional seminar for the parliaments of the Arab States, Global capacity-building initiative for parliaments on sustainable development, which was held in Beirut on 29 and 30 November 2005,

Having considered United Nations General Assembly resolutions 64/292 of 28 July 2010and 68/157 of 18 December 2013, and Human Rights Council resolution 27/7 of September 2014, in which the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation is recognized as a human right essential for the full enjoyment of life,

Bearing in mind the entry into force of the 1997 Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses and the global opening of the 1992 Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes,

Deeply concerned by the increased pressure being exerted on water resources by factors such as population growth, climate change, rapid urbanization, the growing needs of modern agriculture, industrialization, natural disasters, desertification, deforestation, growing energy demand and lack of effective governance,

Equally concerned by the fact that water scarcity is already affecting one in three people on every continent and that, in the absence of effective management, by 2025 approximately two thirds of the world's population, in particular women and children, will be under water stress and 1.8 billion people will face absolute water scarcity,

Also deeply concerned at the fact that 748 million people lack access to an improved drinking water source, that 2.5 billion people still lack access to improved sanitation and that 1 billion people still practise open defecation,

Aware that global numbers/statistics mask profound and persistent disparities between and within countries and that targeted measures must be adopted to progressively eliminate such inequalities, with a specific focus on gender equality,<

Mindful that water pollution, water overuse, lack of cooperation in respect of national and international river basins and aquifers, and the realization of the human right to water and sanitation are interconnected issues,

Bearing in mind that water governance can be a key element in maintaining peace between States and that good governance can promote cooperation and avoid water-related conflicts,

Aware that international law and national legal systems relating to the management of water resources tend to be fragmented and poorly implemented in practice,

Recognizing that men and women contribute differently and often unequally to household and community water management, in particular in developing countries and in rural areas, where it is the women and girls who fetch the family’s water supply, frequently covering long distances in uncertain security conditions in which they are at greater risk of violence,

Convinced that States should increasingly pursue integrated water resources management by taking into account the water-energy-ecosystem-food security nexus, improving wastewater treatment and preventing and reducing surface and groundwater pollution,

Recalling that integrated water resources management strategies are based on the principles set out in the Dublin Statement on Water and Sustainable Development and incorporated into Agenda 21 at the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992,

Stressing the urgent and absolute need to conserve and sustainably manage the quality and quantity of water resources for present and future generations,

Also stressing that effective management and multilevel good governance of water resources are indispensable preconditions for achieving the human right to water and sanitation,

Recalling the key role parliamentarians play inestablishing good water governance systems that are conducive to the realization of the human right to water and sanitation, in respect of which women should be active participants in the decision-making process and able to express their needs and opinions,

Recognizing that parliamentarians have a weighty responsibility to develop national legal frameworks in order to realize a water-secure world for all present and future generations,

  1. Calls on national parliaments to advocate a dedicated comprehensive water and sanitation goal in the post-2015 development agenda, so as to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, said goal to include concrete actions and in particular the development of an efficient monitoring system with global indicators;
  2. Also calls on national parliaments to enact legislation for the appropriate implementation of international treaties, customary law and resolutions related to water management and to the human right to water and sanitation, to organize appropriate human resources training and further education so as to enhance understanding of these instruments, and to encourage awareness-raising campaigns for citizens with a view to promoting responsible use of water;
  3. Exhorts national parliaments to ensure that women take part in all local, national and international water governance decision-making bodies;
  4. Urges national parliaments to set aside adequate budget allocations for multilevel and efficient governance, and to establish legislative and regulatory frameworks encouraging dialogue and partnerships between the public and private sectors in order to stimulate investment in the water sector, with a view to establishing a water-secure world for all present and future generations and to securing water affordability, accessibility and safety for all;
  5. Also urges national parliaments to approve comprehensive and integrated laws so as to encourage conservation, spur innovation and ensure sustainable use of water and energy in their respective countries;
  6. Further urges national parliaments to promote water security by developing and implementing, within their jurisdiction, Integrated Water Resources Management plans involving interministerial cooperation and stakeholder participation, in order to balance competing human needs while giving priority to water for personal and domestic use for all, without discrimination and with a special focus on gender equality and the most vulnerable sectors of society;
  7. Encourages States sharing water resources to cooperate on matters relating to international watercourses and to consider joining international legal frameworks for transboundary water cooperation mentioned in the fourth preambular paragraph above;
  8. Calls upon States and international organizations to use international assistance and cooperation to provide financial resources, capacity-building and technology transfers, in particular to developing countries, in order to scale up efforts to provide safe, clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation for all;
  9. Encourages national parliaments to urge their governments to honour the commitments their countries have made in regard to the protection and conservation of freshwater sources;
  10. Calls on parliamentarians to support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management;
  11. Calls on States, especially developed countries, to promote cooperation and support developing country water management efforts, including in respect of water planning and effective and sustainable water protection and use for the purpose of sustainable development;
  12. Requests the IPU to draft a compilation of best legal and policy practices related to human rights-based water management, in order to support the work of parliamentarians involved in water-related issues;
  13. Also requests the IPU to facilitate action by its Member Parliaments to follow up on the recommendations made in this resolution in their respective countries and regions.

* The delegation of Venezuela expressed a reservation on the use of the term “water governance”.

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