17 May 2016

WTI researchers participate in Commons in a Glocal World conference

Three WTI researchers took part in the regional conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) at the University of Bern from 10 to 13 May.

The event, sponsored by the WTI, was entitled ‘Commons in a "Glocal" world: Global connections and local responses’.

Elisabeth Bürgi-Bonanomi co-led a panel which considered the issue ‘Is the Right to Water and Sanitation Supported or Undermined by the New Mega Trade Agreements TTIP, TTP, TISA, and CETA?’.

The panel explored the extent to which mega trade agreements might impact on water governance and on initiatives such as the Blue Communities Project, which promotes the human right to water.

Rodrigo Polanco, an expert in investment law, gave a presentation that considered three questions: how rules regarding investment protection as established in investment chapters of mega-regionals affect the right to water;  whether foreign investors can claim that legitimate expectations have been affected if a Member State regulates the use of water based on public-policy objectives, including by implementing specific human rights obligations; and whether the human right to water can be used as a defence in investment treaty arbitration by the respondent State.

Christiane Fürst, a PhD student in law, presented a case study on the international economic regulation of water governance in Kenya. She is currently investigating the extent to which the international economic law framework has or might impact on agricultural water supply in Kenya.