The Human Right to Water and Sanitation

Human rights defined as the universal basis for life in dignity, equality and freedom are a guiding principle for German development policy. They play a key role in shaping policy objectives as well as programmes and approaches in cooperation with the partner countries. 

In July 2010 the United Nations General Assembly explicitly recognized the human right to water and sanitation through Resolution 64/92. The resolution acknowledges that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realization of all human rights and calls upon states and international organizations to provide safe, clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation for all. 

The human rights principle defines a relationship between the individual as a right-holder and the state as a right bearer. It does not mean that water and sanitation services should be provided free of costs to everyone but it implies that tariff systems must be adjusted to the ability of different groups of users to pay.

The Support to the Water Sector Development in Tanzania programme aims at the strategic promotion of the fundamental right of every Tanzanian citizen to water and sanitation.

Currently, access to fresh water and appropriate sanitation shows scarcities at all levels in rural and urban Tanzania. Nearly half of the population does not have access to safe water and around 20% of the Tanzanian population has access to adequate sanitation. Even though developments in the water sector are positive Tanzania will also not reach the Millennium Development Goals for water and sanitation (MDG 7).

Having access to safe drinking water and sanitation is central to living a life in dignity and the basis to the realization of other human rights. Inadequate access to fresh water and sanitation forces people to use contaminated water which can lead to adverse health effects especially for more vulnerable population groups, like children or elder people. Furthermore, it is often women and children who suffer most from water scarcity as it is often their task to fetch water from far distances.  

GIZ together with its Tanzanian partners is undertaking targeted steps to move as expeditiously and effectively as possible towards realizing the right to water and sanitation for every Tanzanian. One important institution in this regard, is the independent regulator EWURA, which is responsible to set affordable water tariffs for Tanzanian citizens. Since its foundation in 2006 GIZ supports EWURA`s water department through advisory services.