as a Human Right
Bonn, Germany, 15 July 2004 (IUCN) The call to declare water
a human right has been growing over the years. Until now, the
content and scope of a right to water has not been clearly defined
in international law and has not been explicitly recognized as
a fundamental human right.
Formally establishing water as a human right could encourage
the international community and governments to enhance their efforts
to satisfy basic human needs and to thereby meet the Millennium
But critical questions arise: What would be the benefits and
content of such a right? What mechanisms would be required for
its effective implementation? Should the duty be placed on governments
alone, or should the responsibility also be borne by private actors?
Is another 'academic debate' on this subject warranted when action
is really what is necessary?
Without claiming to prescribe the answers, the latest IUCN publication
'Water as a Human Right?' clearly and carefully sets out the competing
arguments and the challenges.
"This publication provides an excellent platform for critical
thinking and informed debate," said Achim Steiner, IUCN Director
Water as a human right? provides a legal review of international
conventions and agreements with regard to human rights and water,
explores the possible content and scope of water as a human right,
and examines the duties of various parties.
The publication particularly seeks to address a human right to
water in a wider context, which views water as both a social and
environmental resource: A failure to recognize water as an environmental
resource may jeopardize the rights-based approach, say the authors.
In the end, the authors conclude that a rights-based approach
could be a logical means of giving effect to agreements such as
the Millennium Development Goals and their reconfirmation at the
World Summit on Sustainable Development. Yet, they caution that
ultimately, there is no substitute for making meaningful change
on the ground
'Water as a Human Right?' was produced by the IUCN Environmental
Law Programme in collaboration with FAO and UNDP.
**About the publication
Water as a Human Right ? by John Scanlon, Angela Cassar, and Noémi
Nemes can be downloaded directly from:
as a Human Right
The World Conservation
Batir M. Wardam
National Capacity Self Assessment (NCSA) for Global Environmental
Ministry of Environment
Tel 00962 6 5350149-122
Fax 00962 6 5350084
Mobile 00962 79 5052110
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