by Léo Heller, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation
Report A/HRC/36/45, submitted by the Special Rapporteur to the Human Rights Council in September 2017, focuses on the role regulatory frameworks play in the implementation of the human rights to water and sanitation at national level.
Regulatory frameworks comprise the rules or standards defining how services should be provided to individuals in a given context, and the institutions responsible for monitoring service providers’ compliance with these norms and standards.
The number of States with a regulatory framework for water and sanitation services is increasing and so is the contingent of regulatory actors. However, there is no universal regulatory model. Regulation should be adapted to local circumstances, needs and challenges.
States have interpreted the role of regulation in various ways depending largely on the norms applicable to their particular context and corresponding needs, leading to a range of different institutional arrangements and regulatory models including self-regulation, regulation by contract and regulation by a separate regulatory body.
Being at the interface between policy-makers, service providers and users, while acting as guarantors of accountability, regulatory actors play an essential role in the realisation of the human rights to water and sanitation.