Globalisation and Natural Resources Law

Globalisation and Natural Resources Law

Challenges, Key Issues and Perspectives

Elena Blanco and Jona Razzaque

This book examines the complex relationships between trade, human rights and the environment within natural resources law. It discusses key theories and challenges whilst exploring the concepts and approaches available to manage crucial natural resources in both developed and developing countries. Primarily aimed at undergraduates and postgraduates, it includes exercises, questions and discussion topics for courses on globalisation and /or natural resources law as well as an ample bibliography for those interested in further research. The book will therefore serve as an invaluable reference tool for academics, researchers and activists alike.

Chapter 7: Water Resources

Elena Blanco and Jona Razzaque

Subjects: environment, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law, human rights, politics and public policy, human rights


WATER GOVERNANCE AND GLOBALISATION There are two sets of arguments which are increasingly common in water resource management. The first set considers water as a public good and one that is intimately related to human rights entitlements. The second views water as an economic good and can be tracked down to the Dublin Conference (1992).1 This second set revolves round the idea that if water is treated as an economic good, problems related to scarcity, quality and availability will be solved. This chapter considers both these arguments, looking at the international, regional and national legal policies and practices relating to water. At the local level, large infrastructure projects and water service concessions are granted by governments. Water users often have no participation in the decision-making processes relating to water – decisions which often affect their water rights and undermine their livelihoods by displacing them or by restricting their water use. Multinational companies as holders of water services contracts in many developing (and developed) countries control the management of water resources. In addition, multinational banks may prescribe policies promoting full cost recovery of water investments. Water privatisation in Asia, Latin America and African countries gave rise to concerns regarding the availability of water to the poor community, quality and quantity of water resources and accountability of multinational companies.2 The free trade promoted by the WTO and the liberalisation of foreign direct investment have led, in many cases, to environmental deregulation, causing water pollution and depletion of water resources by over extraction....

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