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World Water Day: Cooperation and collaboration is key in protecting clean drinking water – FNHA

Mar 25, 2024

“Water for Peace” is the theme for this year’s World Water Day, which took place last Friday, March 22. Water plays a critical role in the stability and prosperity of the world. As the United Nations notes, access to clean, safe, and reliable drinking water is a basic human right. When water is polluted, or when people have inequitable or no access to clean water, there are inevitable social, economic and health consequences that lead to tensions between the “haves” and “have-nots.”

Promoting cooperation and collaboration at international, national, provincial, and regional levels is key in protection and equitable access to drinking water. As readily available sources of drinking water become scarce due to factors such as population growth, climate change, and pollution, we need to work together more than ever to ensure we continue to meet everyone’s human rights and needs.

First Nations have been front and centre in the fight to protect water. Following the First Nations call for legislative reform on access to clean, safe, and reliable drinking water in Canada, the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Class Action Settlement Agreement was established in December 2021. The changes affirm “recognition of rights, including jurisdiction in relation to drinking water, wastewater, and related infrastructure on First Nations lands; advancing long-term sustainable funding through fiscal arrangements and consultation on fiscal allocation decisions; facilitating trilateral source water protection agreements; and providing pathways for ongoing engagement.”

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