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right to water
Submitted by Patricia Jones on Mon, 07/01/2013 - 6:40am.
Make a difference for people living with disabilities
This summer has brought us tremendous decisions that have hung on five votes. The U.S. Supreme Court's positive marriage equality rulings hinged on five votes. So did the ruling from the same court that invalidated a key protection in the Voting Rights Act, a move that will likely endanger the democratic rights of millions. Another key five-vote decision is on the horizon, this time in the U.S. Senate and affecting the rights of people living with disabilities — and in the coming months, you'll have a chance to make a difference.
This summer, the Senate will again take up consideration of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This is a human rights treaty that will strengthen the rights — including the human right to water — of 57.8 million people in the United States. Last December, the Senate fell a crucial five votes short of the super majority required to ratify the treaty.
The media coverage of the Senate's failure to ratify the disability treaty has been overwhelming, and the CRPD's Senate leaders remain committed to bringing the treaty up in the 113th Congress. They will take up the issue in committee in July, and hopefully bring it to the Senate floor in early September.*
What is the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities?
The CRPD is an international human rights treaty that was inspired by U.S. leadership in recognizing the rights of people with disabilities. The CRPD is a vital framework for creating legislation and policies around the world that embrace the rights and dignity of all people with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was the model for the CRPD, which values independence and respect and includes concepts of reasonable accommodation. Of special interest to UUSC's Environmental Justice Program is the fact that the treaty will protect emerging rights like the human right to water (Art. 28 — adequate standard of living).
The United States signed the CRPD in 2009 and was closely involved in drafting the treaty — and it is now time to show our commitment and ratify the treaty. The entire Western hemisphere has ratified, except Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and the United States. We must take action and join the movement for disability rights and the human right to water! In the coming months, we will be working with partners — and with you — to make ratification possible.
- 57.8 million Americans have one or more disabilities.
- 5.5 million American veterans are people with disabilities.
- 1 billion people with disabilities around the world.
- 1 in 4 of today's 20-year-olds will be disabled before they retire.
- Ratification has broad bipartisan support.
- 500 U.S. disability rights groups and 26 faith organizations are working for ratification.
- Major U.S. veterans organizations — including Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, and Wounded Warrior Project — are also working for ratification.
- 155 countries have signed the treaty, including the United States.
- 130 countries have ratified, including Canada, Mexico, Great, Britain, and Israel.
Source: U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD), disabilitytreaty.org.
*UPDATE: July 19, 2013
Senate leaders will likely take up this issue in committee mid- to late September, and bring it to the floor for a vote in late October.
Submitted by admin on Tue, 09/18/2012 - 9:13am.
The following blog post was written by Maria Herrera, community advocacy director of the Community Water Center, a UUSC partner in California.
Activists and community members at a Sacramento protest for the human right in August 2011.
As we drove through Tulare County in California with a car full of community partners on the morning of August 29 to make the final push for A.B. 685, California's human-right-to-water bill, we were listening to a live broadcast of the floor discussion for the final assembly concurrence vote. Our minds raced with questions. Would we succeed in overcoming powerful interests to win the majority vote, or would our communities end up with another raw deal? And who would stand with our communities in support of our bill? And perhaps most important of all, would our local legislators vote for this measure that is so critical for the many communities without safe water in our region? As we made last-minute calls to our elected officials, reiterating the importance of this bill and demanding their public support for the many impacted communities in their districts, one thing was clear in our minds: we would not accept a no vote, especially from those legislators who know the problem so well! It was now or never.
With allies throughout the state, across the nation, and even overseas watching this long-awaited, historic vote, I wondered how many others were experiencing the same desire and anxiety that we felt in those final moments. And I wondered if those who have opposed this bill so vigorously for so many years were watching in disbelief that a small group of dedicated individuals, unwilling to remain silent and accept defeat, had made it this far.
But as legislators took the floor and began to speak in favor of A.B. 685, my fears evaporated. I knew we had achieved victory! As we listened to one floor speaker after another voice support for the human right to water in California, their words evoked memories of the last five years, replaying images in my mind of the efforts of the many community leaders that have brought us to this point. Mothers, grandfathers, high-school students, field workers, house cleaners, and caretakers, drawn together by a shared commitment to improve access to safe drinking water in their communities, and their many trips to the state capitol, the water justice community tours, the open-house events, the agency hearings, the night meetings — these were all brought to life by the words of our elected officials.
For those of us in the car, it was clear that our work had made a difference, that after more than four years of passionate advocacy to demand such a basic service, we were no longer the invisible, forgotten communities of California. Legislators from all over the state were telling our stories, on the floor of the assembly, in Sacramento, where decisions are made for the entire state to see and hear.
Assemblymember Mike Eng, the bill's author, said in his closing remarks that the time has come to revisit California's hundred-year-old water policy. In a moment of painfully honest self-reflection, he labeled California's water "an international disgrace," recalling that Catarina de Albuquerque, the United Nations special rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, visited California in 2011.
As Eng spoke, I thought of my own family living in Seville, of my father laboring in the fields during the day and coming home in the evenings to Global South infrastructure and contaminated tap water. This issue is personal for me, just as it is for all of the amazing community residents with whom I have had the privilege to partner.
As the legislators concluded their floor statements and the aye votes tallied up to carry the day, I knew in my heart that A.B. 685 really is the right vehicle to bring positive change to California communities, because this legislation has developed from the ground up, as all public policies should! A.B. 685's passage is a victory, not just for those communities currently struggling to access safe water but also for all Californians at risk of contaminated drinking water, now or in the future.
Submitted by Patricia Jones on Thu, 08/30/2012 - 11:28am.
In the post below, Patricia Jones, UUSC's manager of environmental justice, reports on an exciting victory in California for the human right to water.
UUSC partner Laurel Firestone from the Community Water Center, Rev. Lindi Ramsden from the UU Legislative Action Network of California, and our friends and allies in the Safe Water Alliance were inside the state capitol in California on Wednesday for an amazing victory. The Human Right to Water Act of California (A.B. 685) was passed by the California Assembly and is headed to Governor Brown for his signature.
The little bill that could — did! A.B. 685 passed the last hurdle in the legislature with an overwhelming vote of 51-28. With support from the Sierra Club, the California Catholic Conference of Bishops, and Independents, the Safe Water Alliance is making history! Horacio Amezquita, of the San Jerardo Cooperative in the Salinas Valley, a farm-worker cooperative and member of the alliance, said after the vote: "This is great, good news for the love of justice, equity, life, and Mother Earth."
A.B. 685 states, "This bill would declare that it is the established policy of the state that every human being has the right to safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water adequate for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes."
What does the bill do if the governor signs? It will require all state agencies, in their discretionary power to set policy, regulations, and funding criteria for water programs, to "consider" the human right to water. It is a modest, first step toward justice in the United States for families and communities burdened with the toxic legacy of our industry and agriculture, and for households who do not have equitable access water services. UUSC is a cosponsor of the bill and a member of the Safe Water Alliance.
Catarina de Albuquerque, the U.N. special rapporteur on the human right to water and sanitation, followed the debates in the state senate and assembly. She even sent an open letter to California legislators reminding them of her 2011 mission to the United States and her report about the serious water problems that communities in California face today. Assemblyman Mike Eng, the bill's author, read from her report during his closing remarks just before the vote was taken on Wednesday. Her recommendations to the U.S. government and local elected officials included passing human-right-to-water legislation, and she congratulated the groups and elected officials for taking this important step.
Governor Brown signed four of five bills in the 2011 water-justice bill package last October with a very positive statement of support for the human right to water — but the Safe Water Alliance is taking nothing for granted. Keep your eye on this space in the coming days! The arguments by opposition to the bill in the assembly chambers today were startling — from "pro life" to "natural law" to "constitutional law" — arguing that the California legislature had no right to create rights, only the creator could. Some legislators feared that the bill would cause lawsuits, that the bill would allow anyone to have water for free. At one point, Assemblyman Jared Huffman, a supporter of the bill, rose and said, "Some of these arguments we are invited to consider are just crazy." We agree! Watch the final debate [Begins at 30:28].
Submitted by Shelley Moskowitz on Fri, 08/24/2012 - 11:25am.
In the post below, Shelley Moskowitz, UUSC's manager for public policy and mobilization, gives an update on human-right-to-water legislation in California.
Human-right-to-water activists in Sacramento in April 2011. Photo courtesy of Anne Hoffman.
We did it! In a cliff-hanger vote, A.B. 685 [Bill Text], our human-right-to-water bill, passed the California State Senate! Thanks to coordinated action in the Capitol and mobilization in the field, we won a 22-15 victory. As the day began, we had reports of serious scare tactics used by the opposition to try to peel off support for our bill.
We were one vote short when the vote was about to be called. Senator Rubio — a key swing vote — walked off the floor, perhaps in an attempt to avoid taking a public position. Our partner Community Water Center responded immediately by flooding Sen. Rubio's Sacramento office with calls and drove several cars full of residents to his district office to urge his support. Ultimately, it was Senator Rubio who cast the final winning vote! The next step in the legislative process is for the Assembly to concur with the Senate bill (usually pro forma, but still an opening for the opposition) which could happen early next week. Then it is on to the governor's desk.
Thanks to everyone who has kept the human right to water flowing towards justice! I can't even begin to tell you how happy, proud, and teary-eyed I am to be part of this sweet victory and how grateful I am for our team at UUSC and across California. Please lift a glass of water in celebration tonight!
Submitted by Kara Smith on Wed, 08/22/2012 - 11:31am.
UUs across the country have been raising the moral voice affirming that the human right to water — access to safe, affordable, and adequate water for drinking and sanitation — must be protected both at home and abroad.
Many congregations (I hope yours!) will celebrate the reconvening of your community this fall with Water Communion or a water ceremony. Last year, more than 70 congregations across the country included a statement of solidarity for the human right to water in their Water Communion. This year, we invite you to join them.
Consider recognizing the human right to water in your ritual this year by symbolically pouring an empty vessel into the communal bowl and making a simple statement such as the following:
- "This container, empty of water, reminds us of all who lack access to safe and affordable water."
- "We stand in solidarity with UUSC and all those around the world who are calling for the human right to water."
You are also welcome to use any other words to honor the human right to water. Please let us know if your congregation will incorporate the human right to water into your Water Communion or water ritual this fall.
UUSC is working with partners throughout the world to protect and defend this most precious and necessary right. In Tanzania, the Tanzania Gender Networking Program is researching the affects of water privatization on women. In Guatemala, the Association of Indigenous Peoples of the Americas of Sipakapa is monitoring the impacts of Goldcorp gold-mining operations on water quality and quantity. In California, our community partners such as the Community Water Center and allies like the UU Legislative Ministry of California are working for 11.5 million Californians who don't have access to safe drinking water. This work is only possible because our members are standing with us and lifting up their voices in support — thank you!
Looking for some inspiration?
- Over 1,145 UUSC members and supporters have signed a statement of support for the human right to water. Raise your moral voice and share it with your congregation.
- Read about how congregations participated last year.
- Check out recent press coverage of the human right to water in
- "Water crisis a moral mandate, matter of justice," by Arvid Straube, Susan Weaver, and Lindi Ramsden, in the San Diego Tribune, on August 16, 2012.
- "California Water: No More Tadpoles, Please," by UUSC President Rev. Bill Schulz, in the Huffington Post, on August 8, 2012.
- "Who carries their water?" by Dan Morain, in the Sacramento Bee, on August 13, 2012.
Submitted by Shelley Moskowitz on Fri, 08/17/2012 - 11:38am.
In the post below, Shelley Moskowitz, UUSC's manager for public policy and mobilization, shares exciting news about the trajectory of human-right-to-water legislation in California.
Activists and community members at a Sacramento protest for the human right in August 2011.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." —Margaret Mead
These words ring so true today. Thanks to the dedication, persistence, and skill of amazing allies in the Safe Water Alliance, Californians are now one step closer to the day when everyone can drink clean, affordable water from their taps. Together with our partners, we succeeded in keeping A.B. 685, the human-right-to-water bill, alive against the odds. The legislative process is not for the faint of heart — luckily we, our members, and especially our partners have strong hearts with a passion for justice.
One year ago, the California Senate Appropriations Committee placed our historic bill on a "suspense list," which is essentially where good bills go to die. But we joined our community partners in refusing to give up. And yesterday, A.B. 685 was one of only 5 (out of 250) bills that were allowed to move forward. We achieved this through sustained, coordinated activism. Over the past year, UUSC has worked closely with the Safe Water Alliance (SWA), a dynamic group of faith-based, environmental-justice, tribal, consumer, and public-health and human-rights advocates, to develop and carry out an action plan that included work inside the state capitol and with grassroots groups across the state.
In July, the SWA strategy team determined that there was broad support for the human right to water but a dangerous lack of political will from state senate leadership that, if unchallenged, would doom our bill. We needed strong, swift action and moxie to change the political climate. So we mobilized our grassroots and "grasstops" opinion leaders with a focus on two key senators — Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego), chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) — who would decide by August 17 which bills live.
Patricia Jones, human-right-to-water expert and manager of UUSC's Environmental Justice Program, provided key leadership and helped our partners draft powerful opinion pieces supporting A.B. 685. UUSC President and CEO Rev. Bill Schulz made personal phone calls to Senators Kehoe and Steinberg and encouraged our California members to do the same. Even Catarina D'Albuquerque, the U.N. special rapporteur for the human right to water and sanitation, sent an open letter of support. I traveled to Sacramento to assist with lobbying and personally deliver Schulz's Huffington Post column to Senator Kehoe. I thanked her for her support for the bill in the past and asked her to allow our bill to move forward. She was quick to say that she supports our goal but feared liability to the state.
Our partners the Community Water Center and the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation brought residents from Central Valley communities without safe drinking water to Sacramento to meet with lawmakers on the first day after the legislative recess. UU Legislative Ministry Action Network leaders accompanied residents as they gave powerful testimony to senate leadership. It was an essential turning point for our efforts.
Pledges of support rolled in from key senate leadership staff who were moved by the testimony. An article in the Sacramento Bee highlighted the work of the Community Water Center and the necessity of A.B. 685. A steady flow of grassroots calls of support for A.B. 685 flooded the offices of Senators Kehoe and Steinberg. All of this meant that we were on the leadership's radar. But legislators remained tight-lipped about what the committee would do. In a last strategic push that lifted A.B. 685 above the political fray, UU leaders shared a clear, moral voice on the issue in an opinion piece in the San Diego Tribune, Senator Kehoe's home district.
It all came together yesterday, with a 5-2 vote allowing A.B. 685 to move forward. The Senate Appropriations Committee unfortunately made amendments to the bill to address their perceived threat of lawsuits. They watered down the implementation language, but the bill continues to have a clear statement: "It is hereby declared to be the established policy of the state that every human being has the right to clean, affordable, and accessible water for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes, that is adequate for the health and well-being of the individual and family." The bill provides a basic framework for realizing the human right to water, and it declares that our partners' needs are not forgotten.
In a debrief with partners today, there was renewed energy and optimism about the significance of what A.B. 685 will mean for communities struggling with unsafe water. It may not a perfect bill, but few are. Yesterday, in a flurry of e-mails and phone calls, there were cheers and tears as we processed what we had accomplished. Now we are ready for the next two-week push to win the human-right-to-water bill on the state senate floor. It is an honor and privilege to part of this historic campaign. It's not only what we have done but also how we have done it — an inspiration for all to continue the struggle for human rights and social justice.
Submitted by Shelby Meyerhoff on Fri, 06/29/2012 - 12:31pm.
As a member of UUSC's Communications staff, I spent General Assembly (GA) Tweeting and photographing at UUSC workshops and special events. It was wonderful to meet so many UUSC supporters in person and to be inspired by your commitment to human rights.
One of the central themes of this Justice General Assembly was the importance of taking lessons from workshops and events back to our local communities. To that end, I want to highlight five resources from GA that you can use and share in your congregation!
Local Civil Rights Restoration tool kit from the Bill of Rights Defense
During the workshop on profiling, Shahid Buttar walked us through how activists can use power maps and other tools to identify local partners and start building coalitions. To me, one of the powerful things that Shahid said was that while different communities may experience oppression in different ways, the source of the oppression is often the same. So, he encouraged us not to just look at our particular grievances, but to see instead the common target that we can address together with other groups.
- The social-media training video
that UUSC made, in case you missed the presentation by UUSC, the UUA, and the UU
This video is geared toward congregations trying to decide which social-media tools to use in advancing their social-justice work. Yes, I'm biased, because this video features me! But I thought it might be helpful to people who missed the workshop or who want to bring it back to their congregations. I also very much recommend that you download the workshop slides (from all five presenters) and read the live Tweets from workshop attendees (who did a great job of reporting from the workshop).
- The UU
College of Social Justice service-learning video, which gives you a
firsthand view of what it's like to take a service learning trip
This video was shown during the UUCSJ workshop. It would be a great choice to show in your congregation if you are considering traveling with UUCSJ!
- The Blue Revolution webinar recording
with Cynthia Barnett
She was a fabulous speaker at GA, and a large crowd turned out to hear her workshop. We don't have a video of the workshop, but we have the next best thing! You can learn more from Cynthia about the water crisis in America by listening to the audio recording a webinar that she gave for UUSC supporters in spring 2012.
- UUSC's election-related
The 2012 elections workshop led by UUSC, the UUA, and the UU Statewide Networks also had a high turnout, and audience members asked questions about how congregations can participate in the election season. Don't miss the UUSC guide that addresses do's and don'ts for congregation.
Submitted by Aiesha Cummings on Mon, 04/30/2012 - 1:12pm.
Great news! I'm excited to share with you that a Mexican appeals court overruled an initial judgment in one pending case brought by the Habitat International Coalition of Mexico (HIC-AL), a UUSC civil-society partner working to implement the human right to water in Mexico. HIC-AL is working on behalf of the residents of Ampliacion Tres de Mayo, a community of 100 families who were cut off from a water network by the local municipality. For the first time, the district appeals court judge recognized violations of the human right to water and ordered the utility to give more water to the community.
The legal journey for the residents of this rural community began after more than 10 years of purchasing water for their basic needs, because the local water utility failed to provide them with services. The community got in touch with HIC-AL asking for their assistance. With UUSC support, HIC-AL presented four cases on their behalf to challenge this situation and gain a court ruling that states that the residents of Ampliacion Tres de Mayo have a right to water. Although the idea for all of the cases was the same, each case went before a different judge, per Mexican law at the time.
In the first case, the court decided that the applicant must show proof of ownership of the property where she lives before it would even consider her claims that her right to water was violated. In the case brought on behalf of Lydia Velazquez Reynosa, the judge did not analyze the human right to water and dismissed the case because Lydia is not the owner of the house where she lives. HIC-AL supported the community to appeal this decision. In the appeal, HIC-AL explained that the right to water is not linked to property ownership and bolstered their arguments for adequate water services beyond four hours per week, asking the appeal judge to analyze the violations of the human right to water.
As a result of the pressure from the cases and to counteract the efforts of HIC-AL and the community in pursuing their right to water, the authority installed a water line and began providing water to the community twice per week, about four hours total. And a few days ago, we received the great news from Maria Silvia, HIC-AL's legal officer, that the appeal tribunal has ruled in their favor and accepted their argument! The court has decided to rule on the merits of the case and analyze the violations of the human right to water.
Looking back on their journey, Maria told us shortly after the judgment was announced: "Thanks to the line, we gave water to these women and their families; now more than 100 families have water. But it is not enough to put the line and provide water four hours per week. Certainly four hours per week is a violation of their human right to water."
Maria can testify that recognizing the human right to water and realizing it are two different things. She said, "To have a real change we need a lot, more than a law. You cannot only change things because you have a better constitution — everyone has to apply pressure, including NGOs and local community groups." This victory comes as we are reflecting on Earth Day and reminds us that human rights and positive social change do not occur overnight!
Submitted by Rachel Ordu Dan... on Wed, 04/11/2012 - 11:26am.
Climate change is an imminent threat to human rights — a disheartening truth for low-income and marginalized people around the world. Millions already battle with a host of human-rights issues, including lack of access to safe drinking water and extreme poverty. Because climate change is exacerbating the situation, activists around the world continue to call on wealthy countries to keep their commitments under the U.N. Climate Convention and support low-income countries in adapting to climate change and helping their people live a life of dignity. The Asia Pacific Research Network (APRN), a UUSC partner, is sounding that call loud and clear.
APRN and sister organization IBON International are at the forefront of the movement for just and equitable climate-change finance that supports the full realization of all human rights. What is fair climate-change finance? For APRN, it's the idea that wealthier countries should finance climate-change adaptation in a way that takes into consideration how climate change impacts human rights — especially for the most impoverished people in the world.
Recently, Maria Theresa Nera-Lauron, the coordinator of the Peoples' Movement for Climate Change, an organization founded by APRN and IBON International, participated in a panel convened by the U.N. Human Rights Council to address the adverse human-rights impacts of climate change. Speaking as an advocate for low- or no-income people, Nera-Lauron called on rich countries to take responsibility for financing essential climate-change measures. She drew attention to the fact that "human rights language is mostly absent in official climate finance discourse" even though "a human rights framework for climate finance is a very useful tool especially for climate justice advocacy."
Nera-Lauron also reminded the Human Rights Council that industrialized nations are failing to keep their promise to reduce greenhouse emissions, which means an exacerbation of the impacts of climate change and deepening poverty for millions of people. In addition, countries in the Global North are not fulfilling commitments to finance climate-change mitigation and adaptation. She advocates for a climate-change finance system that "must lead to the protection, fulfillment or redress of rights that are undermined by climate change." Such a system must also be democratically governed, democratically owned, and supportive of sustainable development, and must ensure adequate, predictable, and equitable compensation for the harms of climate change.
Meanwhile, grassroots organizations around the world are leading mitigation and adaptation efforts in their communities through projects that protect the environment, ensure food security, and promote alternative sources of income for the poor. For example, UUSC supports the Hope in Crops project in Kenya, a mitigation and adaptation project that protects the environment and supports community-driven initiatives. In addition to Nera-Lauron's suggestions, the United Nations should also support models like the Hope in Crops project to make sure that climate-change finance actually reaches those who need it most.
Submitted by Rachel Ordu Dan... on Tue, 03/20/2012 - 12:04pm.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) recently released a report indicating that the world achieved the U.N. Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for water in 2010. The goal sought to reduce by half the amount of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation, and the progress — five years ahead of the timeline — is commendable.
According to the report, more than 2 billion people gained access to an improved water source since 1990. That brings the number of people without access to safe drinking water down to 780 million worldwide — in other words, 1 in 9 people now have access to an improved water source. Efforts by governments, aid agencies like WHO and UNICEF, and human-rights organizations like UUSC are yielding tangible results. However, the picture may not be as rosy as the figures indicate. Here's why:
1. The water MDG is not synonymous with the human right to water.
The human right to water requires that governments guarantee their populations access to safe, affordable, available, and sufficient water for daily human needs. The MDG does not measure factors like affordability, sufficiency, and availability of water. For example, the report indicates that most of South Africa has met the water MDG, but there are still individuals in that country who are forced to live on 25 liters of water daily, because they don't have the money to pay for additional water. Civil-society groups there are still protesting the use of prepay meters in the country because it limits access to and affordability of sufficient water. Distance to the water source is also unaddressed by the MDG.
2. The water MDG measures access to a low standard of an "improved drinking-water source."
The WHO-UNICEF report defines improved drinking-water sources as those that "by the nature of their construction, are protected from outside contamination, particularly faecal matter." However, it admits "some of these sources may not be adequately maintained and therefore may not actually provide ‘safe drinking water.'" The report concludes that, "as a result, it is likely that the number of people using safe water supplies has been over-estimated." In lights of that, it's important that both agencies are working together to address water-quality monitoring. They are also working with the U.N. special rapporteur on the human right to water and sanitation to develop new water and sanitation goals, which will contain refined indicators for water quality, for 2015 and beyond.
3. There are worrying regional disparities in gains made for access to safe drinking water and sanitation.
Half of the people who gained access are residents of just two countries, India and China. While these countries do make up a significant portion of the world's population, the results could be a simple indication that these countries receive the most aid or official development assistance for water — while others go without. Most of Africa and Oceania will still not have met the water MDG by 2015, as you can see in the map below.
4. The rural-urban divide continues to be a huge problem.
Rural populations continue to make only modest gains in access to safe drinking water. The report shows that millions of rural dwellers still lack access to safe drinking water. In fact, the number of rural people with access to "an improved water source" in 2010 was still five times less than urban dwellers.
To conclude, the WHO and UNICEF report brings positive but sobering news. It's necessary to go beyond the news headlines to the details — where you'll see we still have a long way to go. As stated in the report, "while this tremendous achievement should be applauded, a great deal of work remains."