26 April 2005

Gorbachev and wet economics

Water Treaty
Mikhail Gorbachev
Chairman of the Board
Green Cross international

To the People of the World

In spite of numerous conferences, statements and declarations made by various institutions, including the UN Millennium Declaration, words have failed to produce the much-needed water For the 1.1 billion people who cannot reach or afford safe drinking water, for the 2.4 billion who lack access to basic sanitation, this is an everyday reality.

The UN Millennium Development Goals set the target of halving the number of people without access to water services by 2015. There is a danger that this objective will not be met unless drastic changes concerning the way this issue is dealt with occur.

Access to water is literally a question of life and death. I first learned this through my experience as Secretary for Agriculture for the former USSR, when I inherited a crisis caused by the decision to divert the rivers which fed the Aral Sea. Decades later, this decision continues to destroy lives and has left an environmental wasteland. On the other hand, changing water policies for the better can have a positive effect on the environment, public health and education, and give people jobs and the chance to lead fulfilling lives. The world is at a crossroads. This is the moment of truth.

Faced with this reality, Green Cross International urges the international community to take initiative, to assume responsibility and to play their part in the mission enshrined in the Millennium Development Goals.

WATER IS NOT A PRIVILEGE, IT'S A RIGHT! This is the slogan we have chosen for the campaign and I am sure that nobody in their right mind would deny the essence of it.

And yet, the situation is far from simple. The ultimate goal of the campaign is to contribute to halting the water crisis that reduces the daily lives of millions of people to misery, and is fraught with large-scale conflict and instability. We must aim for universal access to water and basic sanitation - anything less is a violation of our civilization, our human rights, and our morality. ...

Mikhail Gorbachev

I think it'd be a lot better to add a right to water to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Constitution of South Africa speaks about the right to water:

27. Everyone has the right to:

(a) health care services, including reproductive health care;

(b) sufficient food and water; and

(c) social security, including, if they are unable to support themselves and their dependants, appropriate social assistance.

(2) The state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realisation of each of these rights.

(3) No one may be refused emergency medical treatment.

Go sign the petition.

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