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United Nations: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food; safe drinking water and sanitation

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The UN Secretary-General (UNSG) has transmitted several reports on human rights to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) ahead of its 71st session. The reports address issues related to the rights to food, drinking water, and sanitation, and the human rights of migrants and of persons with disabilities.

On 3 August 2016, the Secretariat released the report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Hilal Elver. The report (A/71/282) discusses the causes of malnutrition, obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). It criticizes the harmful impacts of trade liberalization and unregulated marketing of junk food, and warns against promoting technical fixes that do not address the problem of hidden hunger, such as therapeutic foods or bio-fortified products that the poor cannot afford.
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On 5 August, the Secretary-General transmitted the report of the Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, Léo Heller. The report (A/71/302) discusses the role of development cooperation in the water and sanitation sector, observing that not all funders have chosen to incorporate human rights into their respective policy frameworks. The report notes that, while the UN High-level Panel on Water has been established to support implementation of water-related aspects of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, the total cost of meeting SDG targets 6.1 (drinking water) and 6.2 (sanitation and hygiene) will be US$114 billion annually, three times higher than current investment levels. It calls on the Panel to address the tendency of funders to favor a business-oriented approach to water and sanitation, and to include a wider plurality of stakeholders and viewpoints, in the interests of successfully introducing the human right to water and sanitation to development cooperation.

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