By David Snow, WaterLex |
In partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and other groups attending World Water Week in Stockholm, WaterLex presented a panel discussion on Monday exploring how evolving wastewater reuse practices can serve human rights.
“We tend to forget that 80-90 percent of human and industrial wastewater goes untreated into rivers, lakes and oceans because enforcement of regulation would simply mean the end of entire industry sectors,” said WaterLex Executive Director Jean-Benoit Charrin, who moderated the panel. “We need new and innovative regulatory frameworks which facilitate and enable the transition to sustainable economies and development for all.”
The purpose of the official side event, entitled “Water & Energy Nexus: Smart Investments to Help Realise Human Rights,” was to bring together leading experts to discuss how wastewater reuse for energy production can work in favor of local populations’ human rights to water, adequate sanitation and a safe and healthy environment.
Tobias Schmitz, WaterLex operations director and one of the event’s organizers, agreed with Charrin in regard to need for such discussions.
“Because the prospects for the inclusion of wastewater treatment and disposal in the Sustainable Development Goals are very good, we need hothouse development of laws, policies, strategies and tools which unite renewable energy solutions with reduction of the water footprint through wastewater reduction, recycling and reuse,” he said.
The side event’s speakers, representing UNEP, the University of Aberdeen, Freshwater Action Network-Mexico, ACRA-CSS, and Prana Sustainable Water, highlighted energy sector practices and emergying “water market” strategies that maximize efficiency and cost recovery. In addition to being potentially profitable investments, these practices, if supported by changes in law and policy, can satisfy basic human needs in localities, including the above-mentioned human rights.
After introductions by Charrin, the five speakers made 10-minute presentations with onscreen visuals, followed by a question-and-answer session with the audience, which numbered more than 60 people. Please see the presentations at the links below for more information.
“The session was important in obtaining a rapid inventory of the available challenges, practical solutions as well as the legal frameworks that need to be combined within a human rights framework to ensure wastewater does not negatively impact on the enjoyment of human rights,” Schmitz said.
Schmitz added that WaterLex intends to follow up on the event through participating actively in the Global Wastewater Initiative (studying best practices in wastewater regulation in collaboration with UNEP) and by developing an in-depth position paper on the issues with the University of Halle-Wittenberg in Germany.
Panelist Presentations (PDF files):
How Policy and Law Can Challenge the Human Right to Water
Ms. Nathalie Seguin Tovar, Freshwater Action Network-Mexico
Enabling Legal Frameworks that Promote the Reuse of Wastewater for Energy Production
Dr. Dirk Hanschel, University of Aberdeen, UK
Practitioner Experience: Lessons Learned from a Human Rights Based Approach to Energy Production in Tanzania
Mr. Nicola Morganti, ACRA-CSS
Innovative Financing Mechanisms for Wastewater Reuse for Energy Production Projects
Ms. Valerie Issumo, Prana Sustainable Water
Featured image, above: Panelists, from left, were Dr. Birguy Lamizana, UNEP; Ms. Valerie Issumo, Prana Sustainable Water; Mr. Nicola Morganti, ACRA-CSS; Dr. Dirk Hanschel, University of Aberdeen; Ms. Nathalie Seguin Tovar, Freshwater Action Network-Mexico.
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