Fall 2010, Details

Meeting 1
October 7, 2010
5:15 - 7:15 pm
Carr Center Conf. Room
(R-219)

Topic: "The Emerging Human Right to Water and Sanitation Under International Law"

At our first study group, we will discuss the international legal framework behind the emerging human right to water and sanitation. No readings are required for our first meeting. We will also discuss ways to become involved in the Carr Center's Right to Water Initiative.

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  • There were no preparatory materials for meeting 1.

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Meeting 2
October 21, 2010
5:15 - 7:15 pm
Carr Center Conf. Room
(R-219)

Topic: “Case Study of Cochabamba, Bolivia.”

A discussion of the water privatization experiment in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

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Meeting 3
November 4, 2010
5:15 - 7:15 pm
Fainsod Room
(Littauer 324)

Topic: “Human Rights & Large Dams: Applying the World Commission on Dams's Decision-Making Process to the Mekong River Basin.”

This study group will use a human rights lens to explore the World Commission on Dams' process for decision-making. We will be examining the Dams and Development Report within the context of the Mekong River Basin.

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Meeting 4
November 18, 2010
5:15 - 7:15 pm
Bell Hall
(Floor 5, Belfer Building)

Topic: “The right to water in the South African context - Good on paper?”

This study group will examine the implementation of the human right to water in South Africa and will focus on an important, recent court case, Mazibuko v. City of Johannesburg (also known as "the Phiri case"), and the related grassroots movement. When post-apartheid South Africa adopted its new Constitution in 1996, it explicitly recognized the right to water. Amongst other cases, the wellknown Mazibuko case was brought to enforce this right. It was brought on behalf of residents of the Phiri community whose water systems were being privatized and whose access to sufficient water was severely limited through the installation of prepaid meters.

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Meeting 5
December 2, 2010
5:15 - 7:15 pm
Carr Center Conf. Room
(Rubenstein 219)

Topic: “International Development and the Right to Water: Divergent or Convergent Agendas?”

By focusing on the right to water as a case study, this seminar will examine the current integration of human rights into international development discourse. When the field of development emerged in the 1950s and 60s, it was disconnected in theory and practice from the field of international human rights. Development specialists, including water experts, worked in isolation from human rights advocates, who were not uncommonly accused of slowing development. It was not until the 1990s that there has been a convergence of these fields and the two communities have begun to interact more closely. In fact, today, the two fields are often labelled as 'mutually reinforcing'. For example, the international right to water is described as contributing towards the achievement of water development goals and vice versa.

The seminar will be divided into three parts. First, the historical interaction between the fields of international development and international human rights will be traced from the 1950s up until the present day. Second, based on empirical research, how human rights, and specifically the right to water, are influencing development actors and informing their actions and discourse at the international level will be discussed. Third, avenues for further study into understanding the compatibilities and tensions of integrating the right to water, as well as human rights more broadly, into development cooperation will be put forward for discussion.

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