2022 General Assembly
End Water Poverty will hold its general assembly on Tuesday 27 September at 12-3pm UTC. The programme will focus on “sharpening strategies and strengthening processes”.
Given the increasing repression experienced by civil society across the world, and the maturation of the Claim Your Water Rights campaign since its inception in 2019, this is a good time to discuss which kinds of water rights claiming strategies are working where, how, and why. CIVICUS, who monitor the state of civic space in every country each year, will join the assembly to provide analysis of global trends and tools for human rights defenders. Members will then have the chance to exchange experiences and effective strategies for resisting repression and advancing people’s water rights.
The secretariat and steering committee will also present a range of updates on how we are strengthening our governance and creating an enabling environment to support members. We have also allocated time for members to raise concerns, questions or suggestions.
The general assembly will be held online via Zoom with simultaneous translation in French and Spanish. Please register to attend – we hope to see many of you soon.
Stockholm World Water Week recordings
End Water Poverty amplified the voices of civil society and marginalised communities at Stockholm World Water Week.
In our first session ‘Unlocking accountability‘, researchers from Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia shared analysis and recommendations on how to hold public and private institutions to account. Their presentations included investigations into the granting of water permits for the Alwero Dam to Saudi Star; the pollution of the Msimbazi River Basin in Dar es Salaam; the creation of a mayors’ forum to enhance regulatory compliance in Kampala; and the importance of budget monitoring in Lusaka. Each presentation affirmed that active citizenry is vital to transforming water and sanitation services. We co-hosted the session with Water Witness, WaterAid and KEWASNET. You can watch the recording here and read a summary on our Twitter thread.
In our second event ‘Hearing the unheard‘, representatives of different marginalised groups shared their experiences of poor water and sanitation services, the actions they’d taken to address this as well as their demands to states, the United Nations and the international community. Speakers included Nikahang Kowsar, a representative of farmers living under closed civic space in Iran; Lerato Marole, an informal settlement leader in South Africa; Sally Njambi, who works closely with pit emptiers in Kenya; Mercy Mailu, a survivor of sexual exploitation in Kenya whose name has been changed to protect her identity; and Nang Noy, an indigenous leader from Cambodia. Each representative provided powerful testimonies and calls to action. Rio Hada from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and Pedro Arrojo-Agudo, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights to water and sanitation, introduced the session. Hada highlighted the importance of treating people as “active and empowered participants in demanding rights”, while Arrojo-Agudo urged UN Water to open space for dialogue between social movements and governments ahead of the UN 2023 Water Conference. We co-convened the session with Simavi, Kenya Water and Sanitation Civil Society Network (KEWASNET), and the Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN). You can watch the recording here and read a summary on our Twitter thread.
We will upload the recordings to YouTube once we receive the files so those who do not have Stockholm World Water Week online passes can watch the sessions too.
In September and beyond we will continue to platform groups who are often excluded from global events through the #HearingTheUnheardHRWS campaign. We encourage members to follow the campaign on social media and contribute by submitting three one-minute videos with willing representatives of marginalised communities that you know or work with closely.
In these videos, we ask speakers to answer the following questions:
How does a lack of [safe, adequate, affordable, acceptable, available] water and sanitation affect your community?
What actions have you taken to address this and what responses have you received from government?
What support and action do you want to see from the international community and United Nations?
Please follow these tips when filming the videos:
- Prepare your interviewee, allowing time to practice and think.
- Select a quiet, preferably indoor environment without background noise.
- Frame your interviewee slightly off-centre.
- Hold the camera/phone still or place on a tripod if available.
- Hold the camera/phone close to your interviewee to capture sound.
- Do not speak while your interviewee is speaking.
UN 2023 Water Conference
We will use these videos to inform our advocacy, communications and recommendations around the UN 2023 Water Conference, the first intergovernmental conference on water in nearly 40 years.
Like marginalised communities, civil society are largely excluded from formal participation processes with only registered organisations able to apply for special accreditation. We recently organised a meeting between numerous civil society networks and the delegation for the Kingdom of Netherlands – who are co-hosting the conference with the government of Tajikistan – to raise these concerns. We will hold a follow-up meeting in the coming months. Once we receive more clarity, we will update members on how they can get involved, lobby governments and join collective actions.