Aqua Publica Europea's President, Bernard Van Nuffel, participated in a panel on “governance and participation” at the United Nations Human Rights Council 2022 Social Forum, which took place in Geneva on 3 and 4 November.
The panel, moderated by the former UN Rapporteur for the human right to water and sanitation, Leo Heller, was the occasion to discuss with representatives of public authorities, governments, and NGOs on why transparency and participation need to be the cornerstones of water management. Van Nuffel argued that if water is a common good essential to life and a limited resource, then its management must necessarily be based democratic control. He then stressed the critical responsibility that public water utilities have in this domain, and presented concrete examples of participatory process and transparency tools developed by APE’s members.
Mr Van Nuffel also noted that critical issues such as water shortage, industrial or agricultural pollution, and the fair distribution of costs can only be solved through participatory and informed management.
The Social Forum is an annual meeting convened by the Human Rights Council. It is a unique space for open and interactive dialogue between civil society, representatives of Member States, and intergovernmental organizations, on a theme chosen by the Council each year. This year, the focus was on water for human rights and sustainable development.
Beyond the panel on governance, very informative discussions took place on the need to restore the well-being of water bodies, the gendered dimension of water, the link between agriculture and water and the right to water.