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Monitoring Implementation of the Right to Water: A Framework for Developing Indicators
The issue paper sets out a matrix of potential indicators covering each aspect of the right to water set out in General Comment No. 15 on the Right to Water, and commentary on potential choices. These are not, however, indicators for immediate implementation. They represents a menu of choices which will be revised and narrowed down at a further stage to a smaller group of indicators that are most important and which are feasible to implement in the short-term and medium-term using easily available data. An initial indication as to which indicators may qualify is given. The analysis may also assist those currently developing national and international indicators for access to water in taking the rights-based approach into account.
The paper concludes with a series of proposed steps that should be carried out to develop right to water indicators, involving a wide range of stakeholders. Indicators can be developed in the short-term that would rely on existing quantitative data sources as well on qualitative structural indicators which would assess whether necessary laws, policies and institutions are in place. Over the medium and longer term, new forms of data collection will be required to measure the right to water in a more comprehensive manner. International assistance to developing countries, an obligation under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, is needed to develop the necessary capacity. The more effective and widespread use of indicators would lead to greater clarity in implementing the right to water and stimulate greater efforts to ensure the right to water for all.
National and international efforts to implement the right to water for all require the use of indicators to monitor the actions of States and other actors, to identify gaps in implementation and to help prioritise the use of scarce resources. This issue paper describes the start of an international process to develop right to water indicators that can be used by a variety of actors to make their monitoring processes more consistent, rigorous and transparent. Such actors include: States, who wish to assess and improve the effectiveness and design of their own policies; national human rights institutions, international human rights treaty bodies, which monitor State implementation of their human rights obligations; other UN agencies with responsibility for water and sanitation and civil society organisations.
1.1 Right to water expressly contained in law as a justiciable right
Indicator: Is the right to water expressly contained in the constitution or other law? Is the right justiciable in courts or other bodies?
1.2 National strategy and plan of action
Indicator: 1. Is there a national strategy and plan of action for universal delivery of water and sanitation? Is a time-frame specified?
2. Does the plan of action specify attention to marginalised and vulnerable groups?
The purpose of this indicator is to track equity in government programmes and to determine whether the State is taking at least the step of planning to progressively ensure universal access to water and sanitation.