Canada Issues Position on Right to Safe Drinking Water and Basic Sanitation in Rio+20 Outcome

RIO+2017 July 2012: The Permanent Representative of Canada to the UN has issued a letter explaining Canada's position on the right to safe drinking water and basic sanitation, for inclusion as an official document of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20). Noting that water is “fundamental to sustainable development,” Canada recognizes the human right of everyone to safe drinking water and basic sanitation “implicit” in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

According to the letter addressed to the Secretary-General of the UNCSD, Canada interprets this right as providing for a “sufficient quantity and safe quality of reasonably affordable and accessible water for personal and domestic uses, and to basic sanitation that is safe and hygienic." Canada notes that this right does not extend to transboundary water issues, bulk water trade, or allocation of development assistance.

It is on this understanding, the letter stresses, that Canada joins the consensus on the Rio+20 outcome document. [Letter to UNCSD Secretary-General]