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Marie Aronsson-Storrier and Haythem Salama
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.
Hà Lê Phan and Inga T. Winkler
Water security and disasters are mutually linked. On the one hand, too much water (floods) and too little water (droughts) may constitute disasters. On the other hand, access to water is often a significant challenge during responses to disasters, notwithstanding if they are related to water. Water security plays a pivotal role in all stages of a disaster, from prevention and mitigation through disaster response to recovery and reconstruction. In disaster settings, water security is governed by a complex interplay of different branches of international law. These include international humanitarian law, international criminal law, international environmental and water law, climate change law, international refugee law and human rights law. The chapter seeks to discuss whether these regimes comprehensively govern and achieve water security in times of disasters; whether they have evolved into a body of international disaster law; and whether protection gaps remain and how these could be addressed.