07 February 2017

How can law help monitor SDG water indicators?

Benedetta Gambatesa (Master in International Law 2017) presented a paper at the Budapest Water Summit 2016, an international event which studies water in the context of sustainable development. 

"The paper came out of my recent internship at the Global Institute for Water, Environment and Health in Geneva, an NGO committed to the protection of water resources. I was asked to draft a paper focused on Sustainable Development Goal 6.6, which is dedicated to the protection and restoration of water-related ecosystems, and to examine how International Law can be used to monitor the implementation of this goal."

"I started by defining the connections between water and ecosystems under the chapeau of SDG 6.6. Then, I examined the indicators used to track progress on 6.6, such as Water Quality Index, Natural Water Capital Index, and others. I examined whether these indicators comply with the relevant international conventional law (relating to biological diversity; conservation and sustainable use of natural resources; the relationship between water, land and ecosystems), as well as with soft law principles (precautionary principle; preventive principle; polluters pay; etc.). This allowed me to frame the legal background of SDG 6.6, as well as to detect the international legal instruments that can be usefully adopted to better implement it. Finally, I sought to understand how to integrate water-related ecosystems in sustainability, and what role International Law can play in that."

"My paper allowed me to conclude that International Law provides a useful framework for monitoring SDG 6.6 indicators, since it helps to develop the road map for their effective implementation. Either from the conventional law perspective or from the soft law angle, the principles and rules set out in the international community provide a comprehensive system for adequate monitoring of SDG 6.6 indicators. In fact, the dichotomy of the existing hard and soft law is a fruitful instrument that allows us to set down the concrete steps States have to go through in order to improve the sustainable use of water, land and ecosystems resources."

You can read Benedetta’s paper here.