What role for water law in the emerging 'good governance' debate?

Andrew Allan, Patricia Wouters

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The relative importance of governance, in the context of water resources management and development policy, has attracted increasing attention during the past decade. In 1992, the Rio Declaration made no explicit mention of governance as a necessary precondition to the achievement of sustainable development. This is in marked contrast to the Plan of Implementation produced at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg last year, where 'good governance' was deemed 'essential for sustainable development'. The increased significance attached to governance derives in part from the universal realization that '[t]he solution to current and future [water] crises will not ... be found in new and extraordinary technological advances or supply oriented approaches', but in better water resources management. In the view of the Global Water Partnership (GWP), effective water governance is absolutely central to resolving the world water crisis as it secures universal access to water, ecosystem protection and economic development. The reasons for the intense focus on governance may be found in the many recent international efforts aimed at addressing the global water crisis. Aside from its crucial role in achieving sustainable development, it has been cited as a necessary element both in ensuring better enforcement of international environmental treaties, and more recently, in ensuring financing for water projects. As we shall see, the adequacy of the legal environment is fundamental to such improved management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-88
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Water Law
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2004


  • Environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Law


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