World Water Day - New York
In commemoration of the 19th anniversary of the UN General Assembly’s proclamation declaring March 22nd as World Water day, FI’s New York office held an event entitled ‘H2 Uh O: The Rights and Wrongs of Water in Rio+20’ on March 22nd. The interactive discussion centered around the Zero Draft of the Rio+20 negotiations which will take place in June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The discussion was geared towards the issue of water within the context of the Zero Draft and emphasised the need for this document to explicitly express the inherent and inalienable nature of the human right to water.
The speakers included Dr. Chris Kukk, professor at Western Connecticut State University and consultant with the U.S. State Department, Mr. Carlos Lozano, lawyer and researcher at the Research Group Policy and Legislation on Biodiversity, Traditional Knowledge and Genetic Resources (PLEBIO) in Bogotá, Colombia, and Mr. Farooq Ullah, Head of Policy and Advocacy at Stakeholder Forum and Specialist Advisor to the UK Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee. The participants were from diverse backgrounds and included members of civil society, academics, and United Nations diplomats, all of whom contributed to the multidisciplinary character of the discussion.
The importance and relevance of the human right to water is illustrated by the fact that more than 100 people attended the event – roughly twice the number anticipated. The gathering produced concrete guidelines for future advocacy on the issue of water rights, and ‘H2 Uh O’ has been recommended as a model for future events of its kind.