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Inclusive development as an imperative to realizing the human right to water and sanitation

Pedi Obani
Joyeeta Gupta


There are a plethora of governance instruments for operationalizing human rights obligations on water and sanitation at multiple levels of governance. The realization that the human right to water and sanitation depends on the discourses and approaches used in a country to implement it implies that it is not self-evident that implementing the right will lead to inclusive development. The inclusive development aims at not only social inclusion but also ecological and relational inclusion, where the latter aims at ensuring that the structural causes of inequality are also addressed. Relying on an extensive literature review and jurisprudence on the human right to water and sanitation, we develop an ideal-typical conceptual framework for assessing the human right to water and sanitation with inclusive development as an imperative. Our framework is based on the premise that governance instruments are valueladen tools which can steer social changes depending on the contextual political paradigm which can be garnered from the goals, ownership models, accountability mechanisms and incentives of actors involved in the governance process. We, therefore, propose a simple model for assessing whether the governance instruments for operationalizing the human right to water and sanitation will, in fact, lead to inclusive development.

Keywords: Human Rights, Governance, Water and Sanitation

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2467-8392
print ISSN: 2467-8406