UNESCO Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science – University of Dundee
September 03rd - September 04th 2009
According to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Report 2008 more than 1 billion people lack access to drinkable water and more than double that number lack access to sanitation. UN Secretary-General Mr Ban Ki-moon calls this a ‘silent crisis.’ In development terms, Mr Ban Ki-moon states:
"Safe drinking water and adequate sanitation are crucial for poverty reduction, crucial for sustainable development, and crucial for achieving any and every one of the Millennium Development Goals"
Public policy should address this most fundamental of issues. Governments’ solutions come in the shape of a water service, either public or privately owned; and much of the focus to solve the coverage problem comes by the hand of more investment and better management. Despite the fact that public policy always needs the law to materialize concrete solutions by implementing them in a given legal system, the law is taken often for granted and overlooked. Usually, implementing public policy is a difficult task, where many good initiatives fail to deliver. This conference aims at focusing on this critical path of public policy to enlighten understanding about implementation.
One of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, to ‘reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water’ is such an ambitious target requiring extensive effort and resources to promote real solutions. Governance has been identified as the key issue to solve the problem of water service shortage according to Asian Development Bank and United Nations Development Programme. Nevertheless, the legal research in this arena is currently scattered as to this extent no focus has been given to the role of law specifically on water utilities. Hence, the conference will explore water services from a legal point of view, generating a new source of knowledge. It will address the role of law in promoting appropriate policies, structural design, and regulatory solutions for the sector.