First manual on human rights-based approach to IWRM launched

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The manual has a guide that aims to provide techniques and tools for structuring a course on the topic

The UNDP Water Governance Facility at SIWI, Cap-Net, Redica and WaterLex, have launched a manual that brings together two fields that, until recently, have been separate: human rights and integrated water resources management (IWRM).

The union of these two fields is a natural one, as water-management practitioners and human rights professionals have become increasingly aware of the importance of water in key human rights domains, such as the right to life, the right to health, the right to food and the right to a healthy environment.

“It has become increasingly important to understand that there are some key existing dilemmas in the IWRM concept that can, at least partly, be resolved through a human rights-based approach (HRBA),” Jenny Grönwall, Programme Manager, Water Governance, SIWI, told The Source. “For instance, the HRBA emphasises the need to take the rights of each individual into account and give priority to vulnerable groups, and not stop short at planning for the river basin without recognising under-represented stakeholders.”

The manual provides an introduction on IWRM, the human rights-based approach and the principles of water governance, ensuring readers, whether they come from a water management or human rights background, have the knowledge base to be successful. Moving beyond just being a tool for reference, the manual expands into the realities of implementation and includes a facilitator’s guide.

The facilitator’s guide identifies and develops tools that will increase participant inclusion, promote knowledge dissemination and provide useful experiences to support the learning and development of both workshop facilitators and individuals undergoing training. The authoring organisations are also available to lead trainings and workshops.

“The human rights-based approach reminds that each and every one of us have certain rights and entitlements, most importantly to safe drinking water, which the state and its proxies–including water utilities–have corresponding obligations to realise,” added Grönwall. “Likewise, we all have responsibilities towards one another, to future generations and to the ecosystem that provides us with services. The sooner we can foster a water wise world that uses and allocates our shared water resources based on such equity and justice concerns, the faster we can appreciate leadership and diplomacy questions in an increasingly complex world.”