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Synne Movik: Perceptions of sustainability and justice in water allocation
Synne Movik: Perceptions of sustainability and justice in water allocation
Synne Movik: Perceptions of sustainability and justice in water allocation
Synne Movik: Perceptions of sustainability and justice in water allocation
Synne Movik: Perceptions of sustainability and justice in water allocation
Synne Movik: Perceptions of sustainability and justice in water allocation
Synne Movik: Perceptions of sustainability and justice in water allocation
Synne Movik: Perceptions of sustainability and justice in water allocation
Synne Movik: Perceptions of sustainability and justice in water allocation
Synne Movik: Perceptions of sustainability and justice in water allocation
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Synne Movik: Perceptions of sustainability and justice in water allocation

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Presentation at the STEPS Conference 2010 - Pathways to Sustainability: Agendas for a new politics of environment, development and social justice

Presentation at the STEPS Conference 2010 - Pathways to Sustainability: Agendas for a new politics of environment, development and social justice

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  1. Synne Movik, Post-doctoral fellow, Norwegian University of Life Sciences
  2. Sustainability <ul><li>Sustainability a multifaceted concept, a ’hold-all’ for many different interpretations - e.g. sustainable development and environmental sustainability not the same thing (Dobson) </li></ul><ul><li>Key questions to be asked with regard to sustainability, are </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is to be sustained? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why should it be sustained? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How should it be sustained </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sustainability both a management concept that refers to the maintenance of properties of a specific system, and a normative concept (Sustainability with a capital ’S’ in the pathways approach terminology) </li></ul><ul><li>Open to different framings and interpretations </li></ul>
  3. Justice <ul><li>The concept of ‘social justice’ often an add-on when talking about sustainability. What is understood by social justice? </li></ul><ul><li>Distributive justice one aspect of social justice </li></ul><ul><li>Amartya Sen: Justice a pluralistic concept – resources can be distributed according to different, equally legitimate, principles, such as equity , desert and utility . </li></ul>
  4. Linking justice and sustainability <ul><li>The concept of justice often not unpacked in sustainability literatures, and vice versa </li></ul><ul><li>(there are of course notable exceptions!) </li></ul><ul><li>Sen’s notion of plural legitimate claims to justice - where does sustainability enter the equation? </li></ul><ul><li>Could it be argued that someone who uses a resource – e.g. water – more sustainably (whatever this is perceived to be) has a justified claim to a greater share? </li></ul>
  5. Framing sustainability and justice <ul><li>Sustainability is normative and open to different framings – how do such different framings influence distribution of resources and perceptions of justice? </li></ul>
  6. Water allocation reform in South Africa <ul><li>South Africa: Promulgated progressive, pro-poor water legislation in 1998. </li></ul><ul><li>Initiated a ‘Water Allocation Reform’ policy process in 2003. Strategy paper published in 2006. </li></ul><ul><li>Aim: re-distribute water from the haves to the have nots – the ‘Historically Disadvantaged Individuals’ (HDIs) - using, among other mechanisms, compulsory licensing . </li></ul><ul><li>First efforts ended in impasse, new version of strategy published in 2008 that set specific goals of redistribution (as of July 2010, two small catchments, the Mhlatuze and the Jan Dissels, have started redistribution process). </li></ul>
  7. Water allocation cont’d <ul><li>Though aim was to ensure greater equity, quotes such as the following were to be found in the early drafts of the first water allocation reform policy strategy: </li></ul><ul><li>‘ If reallocations occur too quickly, the country will suffer economic and environmental damage as emerging users struggle to establish productive uses of the reallocated water.’ </li></ul><ul><li>and </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Many existing users have made significant investments to make productive use of the water; irrigation is providing food security and contributing to the economy, while mining and industrial uses are providing employment opportunities.’ </li></ul><ul><li>This served to entrench existing users, rather than favour new entrants, which played a part in the impasse. </li></ul>
  8. Concluding remarks <ul><li>It is important to attempt to unpack in greater detail and integrate better notions of sustainability and justice </li></ul><ul><li>Normative perceptions of sustainability and causal relationships: Powerful discourses play a big role in shaping distribution patterns and perceptions of what is ‘just’. May draw on myths of ‘poverty-environmental degradation’ (e.g. Duraiappah 1998). </li></ul><ul><li>But these observations also throw up an associated and potentially tricky question: In certain cases, environmental sustainability and justice not always compatible. Which should take precedence? </li></ul>
  9. Women growing vegetables near the Driekoppies dam, Inkomati
  10. THANK YOU!

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