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Argument: Global water commons address mismanagement of water by failed states

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Supporting evidence

  • Many quasi-states, especially in Africa, have failed to pass even the most lenient test for internal sovereignty in terms of the capacity to be self-governing. In this regard, service delivery of both water and sanitation is highly relevant. (Apartheid South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho and possibly Zimbabwe).
  • Concerns about the western notion of “standard of civilization” are on the increase, this time under the international banner of human rights. (Himba rights in Namibia being affected by the Epupa Falls Dam).
  • The centre-periphery structure of the post-Cold War political economy tends to give the centre both the power and international legitimacy to reimpose a degree of unequal political relations on the periphery. For example, the UN as an embodiment of the principle of sovereign equality, has imposed (or is likely to impose) sanctions via the Security Council on states such as Somalia, Angola, Burundi, Libya, Liberia and Mozambique, thereby degrading their status as sovereign equals. (Donor country pressure on a recipient state).
  • The Cold War’s attempt to “freeze the political map in a way which has never been previously attempted … seems unlikely to succeed” (Mayall, 1990:56). Buzan (1994) offers examples such as the secession of Eritrea from Ethiopia and the attempt to split Somalia. (Possible border changes which may involve river basins in future)."

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