Book chapter
Open access

Access to water and peacebuilding

Published inResearch Handbook on International Law and Environmental Peacebuilding, Editors Dam-de Jong, Daniëlla ; Sjöstedt, Britta, p. 328-354
PublisherChelthenham : Edward Elgar
First online date2023-08-17

This chapter explores how access to water has been addressed in peacebuilding efforts, how water issues impact and contribute to peacebuilding efforts, and suggests how international law through the human right to safe drinking water and international water law may support equitable management of water resources in peacebuilding. Thus, first, it examines peacebuilding approaches and whether and how water issues have been addressed. It also demonstrates the need to shift the current approach of peacebuilding, which sees water as solely a technical sector to a peacebuilding approach that considers water as a larger governance issue based on the rule of law, advancing the human right to safe drinking water in post-conflict settings. It argues that adopting an approach relying on principles and rules of international law to peacebuilding though not a panacea, enables the better management of complex situations in post-conflict states, and enhances the legitimacy and credibility of the state, fosters human rights, and sustains long-term peace. Second, it analyses some of the features of the human right to safe drinking water and relevant international water law (IWL) principles. The third section points out the modalities through which access to water has been addressed in the reconciliation process of states emerging from armed conflict. It also highlights enforcement mechanisms available to protect the human right to safe drinking water. The fourth part reflects on the obstacles to implementing the human right to safe drinking water and establishing basin-level cooperation in peacebuilding strategies. Finally, it concludes with some reflections on the way forward.

  • Water
  • Peace
  • Environment
Citation (ISO format)
TIGNINO, Mara, KEBEBEW, Tadesse Moges. Access to water and peacebuilding. In: Research Handbook on International Law and Environmental Peacebuilding. Chelthenham : Edward Elgar, 2023. p. 328–354. doi: 10.4337/9781789906929.00024
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Book chapter (Published version)

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