The Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors (APHC) has said it is "delighted" the United Nations General Assembly has adopted a resolution recognising "access to clean water and sanitation as a human right".

The UN resolution is calling on member states and international organisations to provide financial resources, build capacity and transfer technology, particularly to developing countries, in scaling up efforts to provide safe, clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation for all.

APHC chief executive Clive Dickin said: “This is an important achievement for the World Plumbing Council, of which APHC is a founder member. It is a significant step in raising awareness of the crucial role plumbing plays in people’s lives and health. Plumbing organisations around the world must all play their part in improving awareness and standards in plumbing – which is why APHC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Code Council recently. We are determined to play our part.”

Robert Burgon, chairman of the World Plumbing Council, added: “While many people will already be aware of the Millennium Development Goals which aim to improve the percentage of the world population which has access to clean water and sanitation, the UN resolution should come as a timely and powerful reminder that plumbing is not only important but a key human right.

“Attention is often focused on Africa and Asia as the regions of the world having the biggest problems in relation to lack of water and sanitation. In fact, there are problems in many parts of the world. For example, nearly 140 million people – 16% of Europe’s population – still live in homes that are not connected to a drinking-water supply, and about 85 million people do not have access to adequate sanitation.

"These are shocking statistics and WPC will continue to do whatever it can to raise awareness that good plumbing is essential to create the living conditions to which all people are entitled.”