UN special rapporteur: water is “the blue soul for life”

UN special rapporteur: water is “the blue soul for life”

Person in shadow on a long, narrow boat on a large body of water
Photo: Sean Hawkey/WCC

In a message to a webinar of the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Water Network on the occasion of the World Water Day, UN special rapporteur for Human Right to Water and Sanitation Prof. Pedro Arrojo-Agudo reflected that water is “the blue soul for life,” and that, since ancient times, all beliefs and religions have considered water as sacred. 

“For me, water is first and foremost the blue soul of life,” he said. “However, through ignorance, irresponsibility and often greed, we pollute and destroy our rivers, lakes and wetlands.”

Arrojo-Agudo spoke on 22 March at the webinar, “Spiritual and Ethical Values of Water: A faith perspective”, warning against considering water as a mere commodity.

“In the context of this World Water Day, I propose to reflect on the ethical principles that govern water management,” he said. “How can we compare, for example, the water needed for a dignified life with the value of the water needed to fill a swimming pool?”

He urged all to consider water as the priceless blue soul of life. “In all cases, we are talking about water but very different ethical levels and management criteria that must be governed, from my point of view, by the priority of water for life,” he said.

Besides Prof. Arrojo-Agudo, the webinar brought together voices from different religious traditions that echoed the importance of spiritual and ethical values of water, that are often overlooked in comparison with its economic values.

The panel speakers underlined that religious scriptures condemn wastage of water and polluting our water bodies, and that privatisation of water equates with privatising and commercialising life itself. They also agreed to engage in the formulation of a joint message on condemning the financialisaton of water through future markets and to promote the spiritual and ethical values of water.

Read the concept and the full list of speakers of the webinar