Barcelona, 13 Sepetmeber , 2004 – Green Cross International
and UN-HABITAT signed a Cooperation Agreement today, aimed at achieving
a global breakthrough for the realization of the Millennium Development
Goals for water and sanitation. “Fundamental to this breakthrough
is a Human Values approach that can bring about positive attitudinal changes
and a new ethic for water and sanitation management in society and lay
the foundation for good governance”, said Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, Under-Secretary
General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UN-HABITAT.
She further added that current approaches to water and sanitation management
have failed to bring about any fundamental change in behaviour and personal
attitudes, and in the underlying values of the people that influence decisions.
Both organizations recognize that water is one of the basic human needs:
that the water crisis is global and sustainable solutions should be found
at local level; that the participation of civil society is essential to
the prevention and resolution of water conflict; and that access to safe
water and basic sanitation is not a privilege – it is a fundamental
right. Human Values are the motivators for sustainable, long-term changes
in attitudes and behaviour that affect the Right to Water.
President Mikhail Gorbachev, Chairman of the Board of Green Cross International
and former President of the USSR said: “I am here today to declare
that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!” accusing the world’s governments of
failing to live up to the development pledges made in the Millennium Declaration
exactly four years ago. In the last four years, 20 million children have
died from preventable water-borne diseases, and hundreds of millions of
people continue to live with the daily drudgery and squalor associated
with the lack of water and sanitation. Yet, today, there is little to
indicate that we will not face the same situation four years from now.
“The people of the world need to wake up, take responsibility,
and play their part in the great human mission enshrined in the Millennium
Development Goals1 . We should be acting with
the same sense of urgency as we would if it were our own children going
thirsty,” insisted Gorbachev.
Under this agreement both parties have agreed to collaborate in the implementation
of activities promoting a Rights-based approach to water management in
human settlements. Envisaged joint activities include documenting best
practices and developing and testing indicators for a rights-based approach
to water management. The initiative will also focus on bringing the rights-based
approach to the local level, the urban poor. This will be done in cities
covered by UN-HABITAT’s Water for African and Asian Cities programme.
As a first step, the two oganisations will set up a task force for the
integration of Human Values into the goals, strategies and activities
for the realization of the Right to Water.
For further information, please contact: Mr. Sharad Shankardass,
Spokesperson, or Ms. Zahra A. Hassan, Media Liaison, Press & Media
relations Unit, Tel: (254 020) 623153/623151, Fax: (254 020) 624060, E-mail: