StandUp4Water and Sign the Pledge!
Clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene should be normal for everyone everywhere. But, today, millions have their access denied, simply because of who they are, how much money they have, or where they live. Lacking access to these human rights stops people having an equal chance to be healthy, educated and financially secure. That's why Women for Water and the European Pact for Water together with End Water Poverty and WaterAid in April launched the Stand Up 4 Water campaign ahead of the 2019 European Parliament elections on May 23rd.
SIGN THE PLEDGE HERE!
SIGN THE PLEDGE HERE!
StandUp4Water and Youth!
By Antje Heyer, Junior Coordinator European Pact for Water
"Writing this from a perspective of a German female under 30, I might be considered young. However, when comparing to actual teenagers of today, especially those who are active in Fridays for Future protests, I notice a great difference between them and my generation (often referred to as Millennials). They have been from the very beginning aware of the urgent need to mitigate climate change; preserve biodiversity and protect scarce water resources - and they are willing to sacrifice their own education for it.
My generation might have been the last one to grow up with the abstract idea of “endless resources” and that anything is possible as long as we study, and we work hard enough for it. In school we had heard about endangered species but we had not seen pictures of trash mountains along the shores yet, severe droughts and floods were rarely occurring and personally, I thought I could really make a difference if I saved water while brushing teeth or taking a shower.
Read Antje's full blog
Schools without WASH: Facts
Every child in every school should have access to adequate, inclusive, sustainable and quality water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services. Access to WASH helps to ensure a healthy environment for learning and teaching, better educational attainment, improved health status and dignity for the school population, especially girls.
One in three schools around the world does not have basic sanitation, putting millions of children’s health at risk.
Inadequate school toilets are also a risk to children’s safety, whether it’s from poorly built structures or overflowing sewage pits. Girls are particularly at risk of violence when using unsafe facilities at school. Children with disabilities also struggle to meet their needs safely and with dignity.
Across South Asia, more than a third of girls miss school for between one and three days a month during their period.
WASH in schools empowers young people and recognises that they can play a critical role in catalysing behaviour change and challenging social norms around hygiene, gender and equity and inclusion, including through outreach to families and communities through student hygiene promotion.
Globally, up to 443 million school days are lost every year because of dirty water and poor toilets. But simple measures such as proper toilets and handwashing with soap can cut the number of school days missed due to illness nearly in half.
We urge the future members of the European Parliament to make sure that no new school built with EU funding, is built without WASH provision. Improved WASH in schools will ensure that we reach SDGs 4 and 6 to achieve inclusive and equitable quality education and universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030.
The impact of dirty water on children’s health: Facts
Illness caused by dirty water and poor sanitation kills 289,000 children under five each year. Diarrhoea and intestinal infections combined kill more than 140,000 children annually.
The links between dirty hands, dirty water and infant mortality have been known for more than 150 years – this is not a puzzle waiting for an answer, but an injustice waiting for action. The time for change is now.
In 2016, over 2.6 million babies died in their first four weeks of life. The vast majority of them were born in low- and middle-income countries where hospitals and other healthcare facilities frequently lack access to water, sanitation and hygiene. The deaths of one in five of these babies could have been prevented by them simply being washed in clean water and cared for in a clean environment by people who had washed their hands.
155 million children around the world are stunted, their physical, cognitive, social and emotional development irreversibly damaged by a lack of vital nutrients in the first thousand days of their lives, from conception to age two. Approximately 25% of all stunting is attributed to five or more episodes of diarrhoea before the age of two – and 88% of cases of diarrhoea are directly associated with inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).
Investing in water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) means investing in children’s health and future. Therefore, we call on candidates to the EU elections to be WASH champions and sign our Stand Up 4 Water pledge.
StandUp4Water on April 30th organised a debate with Dutch candidates for the European Parliament. Thijs Reuten of the Labour Party, Arnout Hoekstra of the Socialist Party, Dirk-Jan Koch of the Green Left Party, Eva Akerboom of the Party of the Animals as well as Samira Rafaela of the Social Liberal Party were present during this lively and interesting debate. All candidates emphasized the importance of the topic water & sanitation for now and the future and their understanding of cross-cutting issues where water plays a major role. And, all signed the pledge.
Access to water and sanitation is not only an issue for developing countries but also in Europe it is not a given. Moreover, due to climate change more and more countries are being faced with water scarcity.
Lesha Witmer of Women for Water Partnership stated that "The EU is a main donor in this field and should at least maintain this position. However, in order to achieve SDG6 and other water-related targets – access to water and sanitation for all – available finances have to triple. So higher attention and ambitions are needed!"
She proposed to re-establish a so called ‘ intergroup’ of the European Parliaments, a multi stakeholder group in the EU about water & sanitation to keep water high on the agenda and feed the discourse. In addition WfWP would like to see the appointment of new commissioner(s) with an explicit mandate regarding water and sanitation. And of course WfWP is making the case of combining SDG5 and 6 as you can read in her blog below.
StandUp4Water and Women!
by Lesha Witmer, advocacy lead of Women for Water Partnership's Steering Committee and co- coordinator European Pact for Water.
The connection between women, gender-aspects and water and sanitation has been well established.
In 1992 the Dublin principles were formulated. Principle No. 3: “Women play a central part in the provision, management and safeguarding of water”.
In 1995 the Beijing Action platform, connected to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) was one of the first treaties that formulated a demand for universal access to water and sanitation: “106 x) Ensure the availability of and universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation and put in place effective public distribution systems as soon as possible; “.
This declaration was one of the basics leading up to the human rights to water and sanitation resolutions and is echoed by SDG6. Some crucial principles like “Ensure that clean water is available and accessible to all by the year 2000 and that environmental protection and conservation plans are designed and implemented to restore polluted water systems and rebuild damaged watersheds” were already mentioned then.
However, we seem to have “reinvented the wheel” and those promises did not lead to enough tangible action on the ground.
In 2002 during the World Summit on Sustainable Development, women who were present there, talked of course a lot about sustainable development, at the time a very new concept that was not well understood. We asked ourselves what would “ speak” to and would combine voices and strength of all women: we concluded water. We all have a story about water, whether it’s too much, too little or too polluted.
For all women it is an entry point to empowerment, an enabler, I learned there and then. It was the start of Women for Water Partnership, now 15 years young.
“Leaving no one behind” is a powerful slogan; Enabling those that have not enough voice (yet) and enable them to act on their own behalf is even more powerful.
Women’s empowerment and “water” are intrinsically linked; implementing SDG5 and 6 together is a necessity.
Read the full blog