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News The Right to Water in Jordan

Two weeks ago a statement by the Minister of Water and Irrigation caused havoc in the Jordanian society. By declaring that the government is "discussing" the option of increasing the prices for domestic water, the Jordanian consumer was hit with fear of yet another increase in the price of basic commodities. Indeed the threat of increasing the price of water is linked to a possible reduction in the consumers' purchasing capacity for the most essential element for life.

The global wave of liberalization of the water sector and de-regulation from the government has been such a drastic force in the past few years that has eroded the basic human rights to such commodities. The UN system acted swiftly to develop an international framework for protecting the human rights to water that can be applied in all countries and under various political, economic, social, environmental and cultural circumstances.

The international community has affirmed the human right to water in a number of international treaties, declarations and other documents. Most notably, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights adopted in November 2002 a General Comment on the Right to water setting out international standards and obligations relating to the right to water.

The human right to water recognizes the essential nature of water for human life. It also highlights the fundamental nature of the problem: there is enough clean water for everybody but the poor, vulnerable and marginalized are denied equal and affordable access. The declaration included many indicators and guidelines that can be used to evaluate any country's capacity in meeting the requirements for the right to water. So, how can this framework be assessed in the Jordanian context?

The concept of the right to water can be widely endorsed by the Jordanian public and   decision-makers as well. The country is facing a severe water shortage, and the government has already indicated in practice its commitment to bring water supply to all Jordanian citizens by investing highly in the water sector. The civil society, community and academic communities are taking water as an essential priority and the integration of the water rights concept would have a positive steering role for policy making and everyday activities and consumption behaviors as well.

It is recommended that a comprehensive assessment of the socio-economic dimensions of the right to water be done in Jordan, and a portfolio of suggested interventions be developed to monitor and support the integration of the water rights concepts in Jordan due to the high complexity of political, social, economic and environmental aspects of water resource management in the country.

Contact information Batir Wardam in Jordan, Water management (email:
Phone: +962 6 5816845 ; Fax: +962 6 5560288
News type Inbrief
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Source of information Arab Environment Watch
Keyword(s) right to water
Geographical coverage Jordan
News date 18/04/2008
Working language(s) ENGLISH