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Ethics of Freshwater

Water is a limited natural resource and a public good fundamental for life and health. The human right to water is indispensable for leading a life in human dignity. It is a prerequisite for the realization of other human rights.

(Articles 11 and 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights)

COMEST promotes ethical considerations in all aspects of freshwater use so as to reflect the concepts of sustainable development and environmental justice, which are underpinned by equity: equity between geographical entities, between the industrialized and the developing world, between rural and urban populations, between generations and between the managed and the managers.
Water, a common good for humanity, valued and respected in all religions and cultures, has also become a symbol for social equity. For the water crisis is not of absolute scarcity, rather of distribution and knowledge. As such, questions of access and deprivation underlie most decisions related to water. While everyone has a need for water, this does not grant the right to have immoderate access to it.

It is imperative for the society to ensure that adequate prioritization of water access is put in place, allowing essential needs of both humanity and ecosystems to be harmoniously met.

COMEST recommends to:
  • Encourage more efficient use of water for agriculture, especially by disseminating information, with a view to increase soil productivity and crop yield and to avoid water logging and salinization.

  • Encourage industry to contribute to water sustainability by utilizing renewable flows, taking into account the water needs of local ecosystems in any assessment.

  • Encourage industry along with governments, to invest in educating the public to promote good habits and “good practices” that foster water sustainability.

  • Identify and disseminate environmental values that should be a fundamental element in decision making with regard to water resources.
  • Promote equity in access to water supply and sanitation services by ensuring public participation, in particular that of women, in water management decisions.

  • Encourage scientists and engineers to provide estimations of risks and local vulnerability to a specific type of natural hazard of disaster, based on reliable data.

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L'eau et la gouvernance. Meilleurs pratiques éthiques.

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