Water as a human right and a public good

The Protestant Church in Switzerland, in an ecumenical declaration, has recognized access to water as a human right. There can be no life without water. Water is a gift of God, which he has granted to all to use responsibly for a life in abundance. Water is therefore a public good that must not be privatized.

Appeal of the churches

In their declaration, the churches recalled the obligation of the individual states to guarantee access to drinking water for all of their inhabitants and to set legal priorities with regard to water use. The primary focus should lie on quenching the thirst of people and animals as well as the water requirements of food production. The goal of the declaration is to move the governments of Brazil and Switzerland towards introducing the necessary legislation to guarantee the human right to water and to recognize water as a public good, while advocating for the drafting of an international water convention to be adopted by the United Nations.


The signatories and their churches, church congregations, agencies, ecumenical associations, and related organizations have committed to support this declaration. In cooperation with social movements and NGOs from Switzerland and Brazil, their aim is to motivate the political forces and the people of both countries to work towards realizing the right to water and to counter the trend towards water privatization.

The Blue Community is one example of a project in Switzerland that has followed up on this commitment.

Signatory churches

The declaration was signed by the churches of the National Council of Churches of Brazil and the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches – the predecessor to the Protestant Church in Switzerland – as well as the Bishops’ Conferences of Brazil and Switzerland.


Damian Kessi, Senior External Relations Officer