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Human Right to Water: A Public Policy Analysis View

Human Right to Water: A Public Policy Analysis View

My talk at the UNESCO Chair for Comparative Human Rights 16th Annual Conference on the Human Right to Water. In my talk, I will highligh the challenges facing the human right to water and sanitation as we seek to implement them not only in Mexico, but also globally. I also discuss my research on water marketization and commodification and how bottled water threatens the proper implementation of a human right to water

Raul Pacheco-Vega

October 20, 2015

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  1. Challenges in Implementing the Human Right to Water: A Public

  2. 3 paradoxes on HRWS  Why is HRW mobilized as

    a frame of meaning against water privatization (public service delivery) and NOT against bottled water (in Mexico, particularly)?  Why is the HRW practically separated from the HRS (for all practical purposes) when we have a closed hydrological cycle?  Why are we so concerned about how we can implement the HRW when it’s not even clear the public understands what it means in practical terms?
  3. Know your rights: sub-national HRW implementation What HRW entails What

    HRW does not imply Potential reframing Quantity (supply) Baseline (50-100 litres per person per year) Unlimited supply available for wastage “Making water available for everyone AT LEAST in X amount” Responsibility (jurisdiction) Municipal governments in coordination with federal All responsibilities lie within cities without any support from upper levels “Cooperative approaches to public water supply can yield better results than simply overloading water utilities” Actors Everyone should be involved in the domestic implementation of a human right to water approach Only government agencies will be responsible for producing water supply without any private entities nor civil society actors “Co-production of public service delivery of water resources can be executed, as well as public-private partnerships and alternative delivery models” Financing Access to financial resources should be adequate Water is free and so is water supply “We need to search for ways to make water utilities self-sustaining”
  4. Issue Why this happens? What to do about it? HRW

    as a frame of meaning vs privatization and NOT against BW • Lack of resources • Strategic use of resources • Simpler mobilization strategies • Use specific triggering points (e.g. drought in Canada and the US) as leverage against BW companies • Education campaigns around bottled water’s impact on environment, human health, etc. (soft drinks) Overcoming barriers to HRW implementation • Lack of understanding of the concept • Misconceptions about what HRW entails in practical and policy terms • Clarify for local governments, water utilities, citizens, civil society what HRW is and what it ISN’T. HRW separated from HRS • Sanitation is an invisible issue • Lack of integration of hydrological cycle (water and wastewater) • Making the invisible VISIBLE • Highlighting very vulnerable target populations • Use HRWS always
  5. My 3 takeaways on the human right to water and

    sanitation (HRWS) 1. There is a divide and a chasm between the human right to water (HRW) and the human right to sanitation (HRS)  We need an integrated view of HRWS and the water cycle 2. There are numerous challenges to the proper implementation of HRWS in Mexico  Mexican water agency (CONAGUA) strongly pro-privatization, and activists against, BUT little focus on bottled water – need to refocus 3. To properly implement the HRW we need to effectively end the global bottled water industry business.  Commodifying a human right becomes the norm rather than the exception
  6. HRWS from a policy perspective  Whereas previous conceptualizations of

    HRW focused on it as STRATEGY, I side with Mirosa and Harris (2012) in that we need to reconsider HRW as a framework for GOAL ATTAINMENT.  Policy designs that aggressively push for public water supply should also engage with and bring along proposals to ensure global access to toilets, sewerage infrastructure and robust wastewater treatment (Pacheco-Vega 2015).  Implementing the HRW will necessitate a focus on two simultaneous strategies: a) Remunicipalization of private water service delivery b) Regulation and control of the global bottled water industry across scales