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Human Rights to Water and Sanitation in Burkina Faso: Assessing human rights and use of human rights based approaches in theory and practice
Göteborgs Miljövetenskapliga Centrum.
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, History of Science, Technology and Environment.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0611-7512
2015 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Great progress has been noted in Burkina Faso since the 1990s in terms of access to safe drinking water. Some – but much smaller – progress can also be seen in access to adequate sanitation. When using the WHO/UNICEF JMP definitions of coverage of improved water supply, then Burkina Faso has already met the MDG targets on water. The access to sanitation is still very low; between 11% and 20% depending on whether one uses the national definitions or the JMP definitions. There is thus progressive realisation of the rights to water and sanitation although progress on sanitation is non-satisfactory.

The obligations of the State for water and sanitation are clearly stated in Burkina Faso through international conventions and national legislation. The four human rights principles of accountability, transparency, participation and non-discrimination are to a varying extent integrated in the formal institutions, organisation and operations of the sector. However, there are serious weaknesses in how they are practically implemented. Accountability is a key problem, especially at regional and national level. Participatory mechanisms exist at local level but participation of women and other marginalised groups remain weak in many places and key decisions are made at other levels, jeopardizing the meaningfulness of participation where it occurs. While most information is open to the public it does not mean it is easily accessible. Mechanisms for non-discrimination e.g. in budgeting can be strengthened using already existing data on inequity.

Burkina Faso has in several aspects met and overshot international normative criteria (minimum standards) of human rights to WSS. While more ambitious normative criteria are commendable in the long run, it is also more costly and thus the rate of realisation will be slower. A lower and more flexible norm could speed up the realisation of rights especially related to sanitation. On the whole, significant opportunities exist for realising the right to water and sanitation and the use of human rights based approaches in the water and sanitation sector in Burkina Faso. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Gothenburg: GMV Göteborgs Miljövetenskapliga Centrum , 2015. , 58 p.
National Category
Other Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-166558OAI: diva2:825725
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Available from: 2015-06-24 Created: 2015-05-11 Last updated: 2015-06-25Bibliographically approved

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