Norway has for several years emphasised that all people have a right to clean drinking water and sanitary conditions. The UN General Assembly has now concluded that this is a human right. 122 countries voted for the UN-resolution, including Norway. No countries voted against the resolution, but 42 countries abstained from voting.
Around 1.1 billion people in poor countries do not have access to clean water and sanitation. The UN estimates that 2.6 billion people may be in danger of developing diseases because of dirty water and poor hygiene.
The recognition of water as a human right will not give everyone access to clean water. But it will create space and a framework for concrete actions. Norway has accepted to take part in a group led by Germany and Spain to push this process forward. The main challenge is to secure that everyone gets access to sufficient, safe and acceptable drinking water at a price they can afford.