International Trade

Another arena in which international water policy could be harmful is international trade. Some authors have expressed reservations about the relationship between international trade agreements and the protection of national water rights, particularly where private international water corporations are concerned [4,6]. For example, a California based water company is currently suing Canada under the auspices of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) for the right to export water from British Columbia, where water exports are not allowed by law [21]. Shiney Varghese warns that if "water services are included in [the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)].the water crisis will be aggravated, especially in the developing countries, where privatization is likely to be poorly regulated" [4]. The widespread support of water privatization in international agreements and the encouragement of privatization by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund could potentially lead to unsustainable practices, such as large-volume, international out-of-basin transfers.

The question of whether or not to privatize water services is one that many nations are attempting to address in the context of the global economy and in light of the freshwater problem. There are strong arguments both for and against explicit human rights to water, and discussion on the topic is far from complete. As the global community continues to grow, access to clean, safe drinking water will become an increasingly prominent issue. The questions discussed here are of the utmost importance, and there are no easy answers to them. Regardless of whether or not explicit human rights to water are declared, there still remain questions regarding how to go about making access to clean, safe drinking water possible. Therefore, these newly unearthed issues of governance do not alone solve the issues of management. The next section will explore the implications of human rights to water on management of water resources; specifically, it will examine the problem of organizing and financing water services, especially in developing nations.

Negotiating Essentials

Negotiating Essentials

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