Last edited 20 Oct 2020

The Dublin Statement


[edit] Introduction

A methodology to improve the equitable and sustainable management of water resources based on four key principles has been referred to as the Dublin Statement on Water and Sustainable Development, the Dublin Principles or the Dublin-Rio Principles. The Global Water Partnership summarises The Dublin Statement as “the equitable and efficient management and sustainable use of water and recognises that water is an integral part of the ecosystem, a natural resource, and a social and economic good, whose quantity and quality determine the nature of its utilisation.”

The Dublin Statement was the result of a meeting that took place at the International Conference on Water and the Environment. The conference was held in Dublin, Ireland in January 1992. The principles associated with the Dublin Statement were then submitted to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) during a meeting in Rio de Janeiro (also known as The Earth Summit) in June 1992.

[edit] The four principles

There are four key issues behind the Dublin Statement.

[edit] Sustainability

This principle recognises both the finite aspects of water and its vital role in sustaining and developing living things within the environment. Essential to ecosystems, water has numerous functions and must be managed properly, due to the demands placed on it and threats directed at it.

[edit] Participatory

As a universal necessity, water must be managed through a participatory approach that includes representation from all levels of users - from individuals to planning groups to political policy and decision makers. A collaborative process is seen as the only method for true consensus building amongst stakeholders who acknowledge the importance of the first principle - sustainability.

[edit] Equality

The involvement of women in water management policy development is considered essential to the safeguarding of water. Articulating the needs and interests of women should be an integral aspect of water policy development within the community, particularly as it relates to water use for domestic and, in many cases, agricultural use. Inclusivity has not historically been a priority in water resource policy making.

[edit] Economy

Water is considered a vital resource with social and economic value. It is therefore necessary to recognise that the first basic right of all human beings is to have access to clean water and sanitation at an affordable price. In the past, the failure to acknowledge the importance of water management has resulted in wastefulness and environmental damage.

[edit] Action items and recommendations

After presenting these four principles, participants in the Conference proposed recommendations around water resource management on a global scale. The major benefits that would ideally come from implementation of the Dublin recommendations included:

[edit] Issues over economic emphasis

Controversy arose around the fourth principle, which was believed by some activists to stress the economic aspect of water rather than present it as a universal human right (despite the initial language that mentions both). This issue was addressed in November 2002 when the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights modified the Principles by adopting General Comment No. 15. This comment acknowledges water as a limited natural resource and a human right.

This ideology was further reinforced in September 2010 when resolution A/HRC/15/L.14 stated, “the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation is derived from the right to an adequate standard of living and inextricably related to the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, as well as the right to life and human dignity.”

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