For the NGO members of Coalition Eau, addressing the issue of access to water primarily requires political will, a shift in mindsets and a change in practices. This is why, in 2006, they set up a discussion, work and mobilisation platform: Coalition Eau.
Despite the right to water and sanitation being recognised as a human right by the United Nations in July 2010, 1.8 billion people still drink faecally contaminated water and 2.5 billion remain without access to basic sanitation. The consequences of this are far-reaching, with unsafe water, poor sanitation and lack of hygiene being one of the leading causes of disease worldwide and killing nearly 2 million children under five each year.
In addition, water resources are increasingly under threat. In many areas, water courses are no longer able to cope with the man-made pressures being placed upon them (wastage, pollution, etc.). 90% of wastewater in developing countries is discharged without treatment into rivers, lakes and coastal regions. Pollution and unsustainable use of the resource continue to degrade water quality and damage the environment.
water, a fundamental issue
Water is a fundamental and cross-cutting element that is central to development. Improving access to services and properly managing water has a positive impact on all sectors: food, health, education, gender equality, the economy, energy, the environment, peace and security, etc.
The many reports and declarations recognising the social and environmental value of water emphasise the need for equal access to this public service and reiterate the importance of ensuring everybody is involved in the decision-making process, not merely the political and economic decision-makers. In reality, these priorities become subverted by economic and financial interests and are undermined by the lack of interest shown by many political leaders. Nevertheless, access to water and sanitation is a real social issue and needs to be treated as both a political and financial priority.
why a coalition?
In the mid-2000s, around a dozen French water and sanitation sector NGOs began working together to develop constructive proposals to present at international conferences and events. In 2006, following their collaboration for the World Water Forum in Mexico, these NGOs realised the value of having a permanent discussion and mobilisation platform that they could use on an ongoing basis. So, alongside their work in the field, they set up a shared discussion, work and mobilisation platform: Coalition Eau. Its aim is to ensure that the voice of civil society is heard at both national and international level; where political and financial decisions are made and where development strategies are negotiated.