Indigenous People

Employment of an HRBA to Integrated Water Resources Management (IRWM) has proven to be an effective methodology to support river basin representatives to integrate a more human-rights sensitive approach to water resource management. Following the success of last year’s workshops, WaterLex is building on this expertise to provide support to a wider group of actors through online training.

During 2017 WaterLex collaborated with specialists representing Cap-Net UNDP, REDICA, and UNDP Water Governance Facility at SIWI to develop and facilitate two online training courses based on manuals for indigenous peoples’ rights and IWRM. These courses appeal to water resource management experts from around the world.

An eight-week course was founded on the integration of indigenous peoples’ rights and traditional knowledge to water resources management as an effective means to enhance sustainable development in the whole river basin. Possessors of invaluable knowledge on their water resources, indigenous and traditional peoples are still often ignored in decisionmaking on water; unequally treated in conventional water management systems; and disproportionately affected by water conflicts. The IWRM approach seeks to enhance dialogue between different stakeholders and favours decision-making at the lowest appropriate institutional level. The course integrates traditional knowledge into IWRM policies and practices, and discusses ways to enhance indigenous peoples’ participation in sustainable water management and development. The course also taught the recognised rights and protections of indigenous peoples under international law, inclusive of gender perspectives of indigenous women and girls.

The second online course on ‘HRBA to IWRM’ offered participants an introduction to the main principles and concepts for a human rights-based approach to IWRM, as an essential condition to improve access to water and sanitation and achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. It included an updated approach and review of the main concepts and principles of IWRM, HRBA and water governance. WaterLex specifically lectured on the core provisions of the human right to water and the topic of ‘Water, legal pluralism and human rights’. The feedback on the training was very positive.