World Water Day 2023 in Metro Manila

Pope reiterates call to ensure fundamental human right to water

Pope Francis sends a message to participants in an event connected to the framework of the UN Water Conference taking place in New York, and calls for “concrete and effective” action to ensure the universal human right to access water, calling it is a right to life.

By Lisa Zengarini

As the international community observes World Water Day this week, Pope Francis has reiterated his urgent call for a renewed international effort to achieve universal access to clean water and sanitation, which the United Nations recognized in 2010 as a fundamental human right.

“We must join forces, involving the entire international community cooperating to create a consensus so as to allow the integral development of humanity,” the Pope said.

UN Water Conference and  “Water and Hope" event

Pope Francis made the appeal in a message addressed to participants in the international event “Water and Hope: Experiences and Challenges for the Promotion of Sustainable Development and Care of Our Common Home" organized in the framework of the UN Water Conference taking place in New York on 22-24 March.

Speakers at the gathering are discussing strategies to address the urgent challenges facing the planet today, focusing on water and development; water and climate change; the role of the state in protecting the human right to water; indigenous peoples and the human right to water.

In his message, the Pope expressed support to the event and praised the various organizations that have come together to join their voices on this crucial issue.

These groups include, amongst others, the Sanitary Workers Foundation for Training and Development (FUTRASAFODE), an Argentinian foundation created in 2015 and advocating for the universal right of access to clean water and sanitation, and the Ecclesial Conference of the Amazon (CEAMA), created in 2020 as “an effective instrument” for implementing the proposals that emerged from the 2019 Synod on the Amazon and the “four great dreams” outlined in the Post-Synodal Exhortation “Querida Amazonia”.

Concrete and effective action for humanity’s integral development

Pope Francis remarked that the initiative lays “the bed of a river of hope” in the face of the “alarming and dramatic” issues facing humanity today.

He said the consequences of climate change and ever-deepening inequalities require “concrete and effective” action, and therefore closer cooperation between states for “humanity’s integral development.“

“Thirty years after designation of 22 March as 'World Water Day' data on access to this indispensable resource, the consequences of climate change, growing inequalities, among other issues are so alarming and tragic, as well known by all the participants and member states, so the call to action must be concrete and effective.”

Right to water is right to life

Pope Francis, therefore, expressed hope that the UN Water Conference in New York might find the solutions the world needs so that, by ensuring universal access to water and sanitation, we may “fully accomplish” this right, which is none less than “the right to life, to the future, to hope”.

“We cannot be afraid of the debate, we must grow with it, for ourselves and for the generations to come,” the Pope concluded.

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23 March 2023, 18:37