WGF Report 1: Human Rights-Based Approaches and managing water resources

Many governments as well as multilateral organisations are increasingly emphasising human rights-based approaches as critical to mainstream in countries’ development policies and donor strategies. Among many water professionals and decision makers there is generally little understanding of human rights-based approaches (HRBA) and how to apply them. There have been ample debates and writings on drinking water as a human right, but much less so on rights-based approaches to water resources management and allocation.

The purpose of this report is to lay out the issues and establish if, how, and under what circumstances taking a human rights-based approach might improve the management of water resources, especially with regard to equity aspects. The focus is on water as a resource for development (for instance, as an input to agriculture or industrial production); the report does not primarily deal with household water supply or the Right to Water.

The report lays-out and disentangles human rights-based approaches in relation to governance and explores synergies and disparities with integrated water resources management approaches.

How to cite: UNDP-SIWI Water Governance Facility. 2012. Human rights-based approaches and managing water resources: Exploring the potential for enhancing development outcomes. WGF Report No. 1. Stockholm: SIWI.