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The Dublin Principles on water and the environment

The Dublin Principles highlight the importance of water as a resource for environmental protection and human development. Find out more.
Drinking Water crisis in Nayarambalam
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In 1992 the International Conference on Water and the Environment was held in Dublin, Ireland.

The output from this conference was a declaration regarding water that was presented to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) that was held in Rio de Janeiro in June that year. The Rio conference, which came to be known as the “Earth Summit” (see 2.7), was attended by 118 heads of government and was the major turning point in bringing the issues of sustainability and sustainable development onto the international political stage. The inclusion of the Dublin Principles in the conference debate helped to highlight the importance of water as a resource for environmental protection and human development. The Dublin Principles remain the standard for consideration of the issues surrounding water resource use and protection. The principles are listed below:

Principle No. 1: Fresh water is a finite and vulnerable resource, essential to sustain life, development and the environment.

Principle No. 2: Water development and management should be based on a participatory approach, involving users, planners and policy-makers at all levels.

Principle No. 3: Women play a central part in the provision, management and safeguarding of water.

Principle No. 4: Water has an economic value in all its competing uses and should be recognised as an economic good.

Declaration of the International Conference on Water and the Environment, Dublin, Ireland, 26th-31st January 1992

Think about: why do you think the role of women is highlighted in Principle No.3?

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