Table of Contents

Research Handbook on Disasters and International Law

Research Handbook on Disasters and International Law

Research Handbooks in International Law series

Edited by Susan C. Breau and Katja L.H. Samuel

International law’s role in governing disasters is undergoing a formative period in its development and reach, in parallel with concerted efforts by the international community to respond more effectively to the increasing number and intensity of disasters across the world. This Research Handbook examines a broad range of legal regimes directly and indirectly relevant to disaster prevention, mitigation and reconstruction across a spectrum of natural and manmade disasters, including armed conflict.

Chapter 15: Tackling water contamination: development, human rights and disaster risk reduction

Marie Aronsson-Storrier and Haythem Salama

Subjects: environment, disasters, environmental governance and regulation, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law, law and development, public international law, politics and public policy, environmental governance and regulation


Contaminated water poses significant challenges to human life and development, and water crises are now being considered as one of the main global risks for the coming decade. In light of recent initiatives such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030, the Sustainable Development Goals 2015–2030, and the acknowledgment by the UN General Assembly of the rights to water and sanitation, this chapter examines some of the principal global challenges posed by water contamination through the lens of disaster risk reduction, sustainable development and international human rights law. It finds that water contamination functions as a powerful illustration of how these three areas of international law complement and reinforce each other, and that the links between them should be further explored and developed by actors seeking to address the significant problems caused by the pollution of water.

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