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Everyone has a right to clean water

Cecilia reaching for drinking water at her school in BoliviaOn 28 July 2010 the UN passed a resolution declaring clean drinking water as a fundamental human right. Thousands of Bolivians campaigned for this right through events organised by Christian Aid partner Fundación Solón. This is a shining example of how grassroots campaigning can lead to change at a global level.

A Bolivian representative tabled the resolution, which defines access to clean water and sanitation as a human right. Global lack of access to water kills more children annually than AIDS, malaria and measles combined, while the lack of sanitation affects 2.6 billion people, or 40% of the global population.
The resolution calls on states and international organisations to scale up efforts to provide safe, clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation for all.

Campaigning for change

Thousands of Bolivians campaigned for this, through an annual month of events, 'Blue October', organised by Christian Aid partner Fundación Solón. The comic competitions, rap contests, dance displays and conferences call for clean water for all. They want to be sure that water is safeguarded for human consumption first, not used up by the increasing demands from agroindustry and in the production of bio fuels.

'Water cannot be treated as a million pound industry. We can’t allow our government to make decisions that benefit the financial gain of a few over the right to water, to life.'
Elysabeth Peredo, Director of Christian Aid partner Fundación Solón

Bolivian response

The Bolivian government listened to the campaigners - first recognising water as a human right in the new 2009 constitution. The new UN resolution means the impact of their campaigning will now be felt at a global level.

'We lit the flame. I thought I was the only one who cared, but coming to things like Octubre Azul, you realise there are many more people like you out there.'
Joaquim Cuevas, political comic artist.

Watch our video to find out more about the grassroots campaigning in Bolivia.


More about our work

Christian Aid's work on climate change

Christian Aid's work on justice and rights

Christian Aid's work in Bolivia

Further information on the resolution 

BBC News article about the UN resolution

UN News Centre article

Related links 

Issue:  Climate change

Country:  Bolivia 

Region:  The Americas

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