UN 2010 Resolutions established the principle that water and sanitation are universal human rights, and affirmed that States have the primary responsibility to insure the full realization of them, just as of all human rights. However, Resolutions are soft law instruments, declarations of principles, without binding effect over the State parties. We need to go beyond such a declamatory step, that has proved so far to be ineffective in contrasting marketization of the human right, and too weak for leading to its actual implementation.
In order not to leave to markets the definition of how the human right to water may be implemented, we need new instruments drawing binding norms of implementation out of the UN Resolutions. We believe that this is urgent. As a matter of facts, the relationship between man and nature has profoundly changed over recent decades due to extraordinary technological developments. As for water resources and naturally managed water for living, the prospect is to substitute the naturally managed cycle with a technological cycle, managed by markets, suitable to create profits and to support models of government entrusted to those with specific interests (stakeholders), but removed from citizens and National Parliaments.
We need to open a way towards a further step, we need to get a new constitutionalism, no longer limited to the defense of fundamental rights, but including fundamental common goods indispensable to life, and no longer national, but supranational, able to go beyond the individualistic logic of rights and the “localism” of national politics.
This requires political innovation. On the one side, it demands a new phase of mobilization for the defense of human rights in the current context of financial capitalism. Mobilization from States: they ought to actively engage submitting to the International Community new legal instruments for the implementation of the human right to water, and opening a negotiation with the UN Council of Human Rights. And mobilization of citizens, Water Movements and Networks, NGOs: they succeeded in mobilizing public opinions for the acknowledgement of the human right to water, and for opposing the process of water service privatization. They should now feel committed in launching new instruments for concretely realizing the human right, and claim from their own State ratification of them.
On the other side, it demands that we identify a new legal instrument strong enough for binding States to the realization of the human right to water as a universal and specific human right, against the tendency to reduce the human right to access to water at an affordable price from the World Bank and Corporations, with the support of the United Nations.