Toward Human Rights to Water

The concept of human rights to water is one that has been evolving since 1948, when the United Nations (UN) General Assembly penned the International Bill of Human Rights—comprising, among others, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Article 25 of the Declaration states that "[everyone] has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family" [7]. Such a statement implies a fundamental right to water since it is necessary for health. Subsequent international covenants attempted to define the parameters of the freshwater supply problem by approaching it from the perspective of improving access to clean water and outlining management strategies to do so. Nevertheless, more recent discourse has concerned the establishment of explicit human rights to water, while establishing a global policy through which such rights can be recognized and ensured on the national level. This approach has not been met with agreement from all international participants, however. Several reasons for not using a human rights based approach to improve water access have been cited. The following sections will explore the historical and current approaches to the problem and evaluate the challenges of the human rights based approach to water policy.

Negotiating Essentials

Negotiating Essentials

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