On February 23-24, 2017 the Pontifical Academy of Sciences organized a seminar in the Vatican on “the human right to water.” The initiative is intended to encourage a “culture of water,” explained the organizers. At the General Audience, on the eve of the event, the Pope lamented that “water gives us life, helps us in everything but to exploit minerals water is contaminated.”
A press release stated that the seminar “hopes to create an inter-disciplinary area” to formulate proposals in order to “realize public policies in the management of water and of hygienic-sanitary services.” It is an initiative that calls for the contribution of science, of culture and of politics.
For the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the efforts for the protection and management of water can contribute to peace and to the prevention of conflicts, stressing “that political and economic interests must not prevail over human life.”
At his weekly catechesis on February 22, the Holy Father evoked the question of water: “When the human being lets himself be gripped by egoism, he ends up by ruining the most beautiful things entrusted to him. And it is what has happened also with Creation. We think of water. Water is a very beautiful thing and so important; water give us life, helps us in everything but to exploit minerals, water is contaminated, one soils Creation and one destroys Creation.”
While, according to the World Health Organization, in 2014 some 748 million people did not have access to drinking water, the Vatican reminds that it is a “right that does not admit discord” and an “essential condition for a fitting life.”
He encouraged the implementation of “juridical, technical, social and political mechanisms that make possible the building of a genuine ‘culture of water.’”
The protection of water resources, education to the protection of water and access to water … must become a priority in governments’ agendas,” insisted the Academy of Sciences, which deplored that many local Constitutions do not yet provide for the right to water.