Explanation of the Australia’s vote on the United Nations General
Assembly resolution A/64/L.63/Rev.1 on the human right to water and
sanitation, as delivered by Ambassador Andrew Goledzinowski on 28 July
Access to water and sanitation is fundamental to the realisation of a
range of human rights. Globally, two-thirds of those without reliable
access to clean water live in the Asia-Pacific region; and of our
region’s 3.8 billion people, over half do not have access to sanitation.
Australia also acknowledges that access to water and sanitation is of
critical importance to the achievement of the Millennium Development
Goals. Therefore, Australia has increased development assistance for
water and sanitation by $300 million dollars in the last two years.
We appreciate the sincerity of the Plurinational State of Bolivia as
the lead sponsor of this resolution, and, respect Bolivia’s commitment
on this issue.
Nonetheless, Australia has reservations about the process of declaring
new human rights through a General Assembly resolution. In particular,
we are concerned that the precise status and nature of such rights
will be uncertain. – Uncertainty makes consensus difficult. When we
recognise new human rights, consensus is very important.
Australia supports the work of the Independent Expert on the issue of
human rights obligations related to access to safe drinking water and
sanitation. We have followed with interest the progress of the
Independent Expert’s work in clarifying the content of rights related
to access to water and sanitation. This resolution has now been
adopted. But we would have preferred that the Independent Expert had
been allowed to finalise her work before the tabling of a resolution,
so that her work on this subject could be fully taken into account by
the General Assembly.
Les Malezer <les.malezer>
28 July 2010