RELIGION
07/06/2010 05:46 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

'Water As Human Right' Campaign Gets Global Protestant Backing

By Stephen Brown
Religion News Service

(RNS/ENInews) Church-backed campaigners say they have received a boost from a global body representing 80 million Protestants that has called access to water a basic human right.

"Preserving the world's water resources, and securing access to water for all, is one of the greatest challenges we face," Maike Gorsboth, the Geneva-based coordinator of the secretariat of the Ecumenical Water Network told ENInews.

Gorsboth was speaking after the World Communion of Reformed Churches at its founding meeting last month (June) in Grand Rapids, Mich., urged its churches to support and adopt a declaration on "Water as a Human Right and a Public Good."

The declaration, drawn up by Swiss and Brazilian churches, urges that "the human right to water be recognized at the local and international level in the same way as the right to adequate food."

It says nations should guarantee everyone access to drinking water, fixing an affordable price, and involve local authorities and communities in decisions on the use of water resources.

"Water is a pressing global concern related to life, dignity, peace and justice," said Gorsboth.

"Hopefully, the WCRC's recognition of the ecumenical declaration will further strengthen churches' commitment to this issue."

With some 230 churches in 108 countries, the new Reformed body was formed as a merger of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Reformed Ecumenical Council.

The Ecumenical Water Network was formed by Christian agencies and movements to raise the awareness of churches about the urgency of issues linked to water.