Catarina de Albuquerque

Diplomat | Water and Human Rights Champion

Catarina de Albuquerque is the CEO of the United Nations-hosted Sanitation and Water for All global partnership, mobilizing over 370 governments, civil society and private organizations, academia, and other actors, in joint high-level advocacy to realize the human rights to water and sanitation.

Previously, Catarina was appointed by the Human Rights Council to become the first UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation. In 2010, she played a pivotal role in the recognition of water and sanitation as human rights by the UN General Assembly. Her work helped ensure that the rights to water and sanitation were incorporated into the language of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Between 2004 and 2008 she presided over the negotiations of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which the UN General Assembly approved by consensus on 10 December 2008. She also participated in the development of several other international human rights standards, including two Optional Protocols.

She was awarded the Human Rights Golden Medal by the Portuguese Parliament (2009) for outstanding work in human rights. Her work was also honored by the Portuguese President of the Republic with the Order of Merit (2009).