WaterLex Legal Desk Officer Dr. Elodie Tranchez, who manages the international public development organisation’s Parliamentarian HelpDesk Programme, participated in a meeting of experts on Tuesday (14 July 2015), in Santiago, Chile, at the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and Caribbean (ECLAC; also known by its Spanish-language abbreviation, CEPAL). The focus of the reunion gathering of high-level experts was on the formulation of water policies and laws in the post-2015 agenda in Central and South America.
Representatives from Argentina, Chile, Coast Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru presented the new water policies or laws in their countries.
Judging by content presented at the meeting, Tranchez noted, trends are emerging in Central and South American law and policy:
- A general movement toward recognition of the human right to water and sanitation (HRWS);
- Increased awareness of the need for public participation in water management and ecosystem preservation;
- Increased use of an integrated water resources management (IWRM) approach in updated legal and political frameworks.
However, Tranchez said, the question of how to measure the concrete results of these water laws and policies remains.
“This event was of extreme importance, gathering experts and officials from all over the continent,” she said. “It has been extremely pleasing to see that the HRWS is now an element taken into consideration in the formulation of water laws. We need to act on water-management frameworks if we want to make of the HRWS a reality.”
Tranchez presented a paper about compliance with human rights in water-related legal reforms, highlighting that in order to ensure the realisation of the HRWS, water laws must change. She presented three axes of water laws — goals of the protection, framework for the protection, and means by which protection will be achieved — and some good practices around them that directly or indirectly protect the HRWS. See her presentation.
Tranchez also pointed out the “perfect neutrality” of the human rights approach, saying that ideologies and dogmatism have no role in protecting the HRWS. WaterLex member Dr. Miguel Solanes, former ECLAC regional advisor for water laws and regulation of public services, agreed on the point in his remarks at the meeting.
Image at top of page: WaterLex Legal Desk Officer Dr. Elodie Tranchez makes a presentation at an ECLAC meeting in Santiago, Chile, 14 July 2015.
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WaterLex is an international public interest development organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. It is a UN-Water Partner with UN ECOSOC special consultative status. Its mission is to develop sustainable solutions based on human rights to improve water governance worldwide, particularly in regard to consistent water law and policy frameworks. It works with an alliance of interested parties to improve water-governance frameworks, bringing them in line with country obligations under international human rights law. The interested parties are individuals and groups working in government (diplomatic missions), academia (professors of law, researchers), bilateral cooperation (water management advisors), the judiciary (high/supreme courts judges), the UN system (UN-Water family members), and civil society (NGOs that work on water issues). WaterLex works in partnership with 85 universities to continuously enrich the content of the WaterLex Legal Database. The organisation is funded by grants and project financing from public agencies, foundations, private gifts, and in-kind contributions. Established in 2010, when the human right to water was recognised by the UN, the organisation has a secretariat in Geneva with 15 staff members, a supervisory board of directors, and a large pool of members and expert advisors. It is an official member of the Global Water Partnership, UNDP Cap-Net, UNDP Global Water Solidarity, UNEP Global Wastewater, and the Swiss Water