Water as a Human Right: Understanding of Water in the Arab Countries of the Middle East

  • Simone Klawitter
  • Hadeel Qazzaz


The international community has affirmed the human right to water in a number of international treaties, declarations and other documents. Most notably, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights adopted in November 2002 a general comment on the right to water setting out international standards and obligations relating to the right to water. Based on the UN concept of water as a human right for selected Arab countries in the Middle East (Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon)1 it is analyzed if and to what extent these concepts are acknowledged. The paper aims to identify the scale of knowledge of and commitment to the UN concept in the region and is meant to identify the main areas of concern in each country regarding water as a human right. The paper summarizes the main challenges facing strategic and coordinated action towards the UN concept of water as a human right, identifies what types of processes and institutions need to be developed to meet the challenges of the concept and provides best practice examples from countries that have shown innovation. Objectives and priority ideas for activities of NGOs are recommended


Human right Lebanon Egypt Palestine Jordan UN Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simone Klawitter
    • 1
  • Hadeel Qazzaz
    • 2
  1. 1.Water Sanitation Livelihoods and Institutions BuildingBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Arab Middle East OfficeHeinrich-Boell-Foundation (hbf)Jerusalem

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