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Upcoming talks: Right to Water Conference 2015 at University of Connecticut

tap waterWhile this has been in the works for quite a few months, I am thrilled that the time has come for me to visit the University of Connecticut, and nothing better than doing so within the context of a fantastic conference where I will be sharing the stage with, among several other outstanding academics, Dr. Christiana Peppard from Fordham University, a long-time Twitter friend and someone whose research I really respect. I am also delighted to be able to spend time with Dr. Mark Healey (one of the best environmental historians of his generation, and a specialist in Argentine water history) and Dr. Prakash Kashwan (also an excellent scholar of environmental policy with whom I actually share a heritage through the Ostrom Workshop, and whom I had a chance to see a couple of years ago at WOW5). I’ll also get the chance to see Dr. Veronica Herrera very briefly.

Dr. Herrera works in a very similar field to mine, wastewater and water politics in Mexico and Latin America, and it’s nice to actually be able to meet up in person.

The conference I will be speaking at is organized by the UNESCO Chair and the Institute of Comparative Human Rights at the University of Connecticut, and will be keynoted by Dr. Peter Gleick (whom you probably have all read about, since he wrote one of the most authoritative books on bottled water). Here is a brief summary of the conference, right from the website:

Without water, life is impossible. Such a basic fact should imply that all human beings have, if they have any rights at all, a fundamental right to water. And yet, it was not until 2010 that the international community fully and explicitly recognized the right to water. That year, the UN General Assembly declared that “the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights,” and called upon states and international organizations to work together to “provide safe, clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation for all.” In 2011, the WHO and UNICEF estimate that 786 million people use unsafe drinking water sources and 2.5 billion—36% of the world’s population—lack access to improved sanitation facilities. The human costs of these failures are staggering.

With these challenges in mind, the UNESCO Chair and Institute of Comparative Human Rights will convene experts, activists, officials, and scholars from around the globe to examine the scope and nature of the global water crisis, to discuss the legal and institutional basis of the human rights to water and sanitation, and to consider some innovations and best practices that have been implemented or advocated around the world. As the world prepares to define the Post-2015 Development Agenda, this conference will provide a forum for students, faculty, and the community to explore the centrality of the right to water in our effort to build a more just and sustainable future.

In my own talk, I will be highlighting the challenges facing the human right to water and sanitation as we seek to implement them not only in Mexico, but also globally. I will also be discussing my research on water marketization and commodification and how bottled water threatens the proper implementation of a human right to water. I’m really grateful to the organizers of the conference and to Dr. Healey, Dr. Herrera and Dr. Kashwan for going out of their way to host me at UConn. I believe the conference will be live-streamed and will post a link on Twitter once I know whether it will be.

Posted in academia, research, wastewater, water governance, water policy.

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