The Sustainable Human Right to Water as Reflected in the Sustainable Development Goals

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In Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG6), also known as the ‘water goal’, one finds various (implicit) references to the internationally recognized human right to water. The aim of this paper is to further explore those linkages. More specifically, the main research question is the following: in what way does SDG6 facilitate local level implementation of the international human right to water, and does SDG6 call for a more sustainable interpretation of that human right? First, a brief overview is provided of the drafting process of SDG6, which took place in the period from 2013 to 2015, with a focus on suggested insertions into that SDG, of references to the human right to water and to local implementation. Then, the actual text of SDG6, as finally adopted in 2015, is analyzed in more detail. SDG6 is subjected to a textual analysis, in which the language of SDG6 is compared with authoritative codifications of the human right to water in the sources of international law, primarily treaties. This is followed by a brief and preliminary analysis of the monitoring and implementation process of SDG6, which began after its adoption in 2015, and will continue until the SDGs reach their expiration date in 2030. The paper ends with a conclusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-32
Number of pages15
JournalUtrecht Law Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes

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