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5th World Water Forum ends without declaring water human right
Updated: 2009-03-22 20:05

ISTANBUL -- The Istanbul Ministerial Statement came out on the last day of 5th World Water Forum Sunday without recognizing water as a human right.

The final statement does not say water is a human right, against the wishes of some countries. It said "We acknowledge the discussions with the UN system regarding human rights and access to safe drinking water and sanitation. We recognize that access to safe drinking water and sanitation is a basic human need."

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Whether water is a human right has long been a hot topic. It also became a much-debated issue during this forum which drew a lot of attention of the participants.

In 2006, the 4th edition of the forum held in Mexico City adopted a declaration excluding water as a human right, against the wishes of the European Union, Bolivia, Cuba, Venezuela and Uruguay, only saying that water was "critically important" for human development.

The Istanbul Ministerial Statement, adopted by ministers and heads of delegations of more than 150 countries, reaffirms the prior commitments by national governments to achieve the internationally agreed upon goals on water and sanitation.

The heads also agreed to support the implementation of integrated water resources management and improve water demand management, productivity and efficiency of water use for agriculture, strengthen the prevention of pollution from all sectors in surface and groundwater, resolve to work to prevent and respond to natural and human-induced disasters and strive to improve water-related monitoring systems.  

The week-long 5th World Water Forum, with the theme of " Bridging Divides for Water," concluded Sunday in the biggest Turkish city of Istanbul, attracting a record of 25,000 participants from all over the world aimed to seek solutions to the world's water problems and promote cooperation among states and organizations.