Strathclyde-FAO Study on the Human Right to Water for Food and Agriculture Published

March 2020: The Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance (SCELG) and the Strathclyde Centre for the Study of Human Rights Law have prepared a legislative study that the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has published online on the linkages between the human right to food and the human right to water. The study, based on a consultancy awarded by FAO to Strathclyde Law School in 2018, is titled “The Human Right to Water for Food and Agriculture, and address questions at the intersection of international human rights and international environmental law, including: does the human right to water extend to water use for agriculture and food production? What does a human rights-based approach mean for the governance of water resources? And are there extraterritorial human rights obligations in the governance of transboundary waters?

The study contributes to Sustainable Development Goal Target 6.4, which reads: "By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity," while improving the capacities of governments and stakeholders to develop and implement legal frameworks and accountability mechanisms to realize the right to adequate food and to promote secure and equitable access to resources and assets.

The team that prepared the study comprised academics (Elisa Morgera, Elaine Webster, Francesco Sindico, Stephanie Switzer), PhD students (Mitchell Lennan, Renee Martin-Nagle, and Graham Hamley, Ruby Moynihan), SCELG associates (Thierry Berger and Elsa Tsioumani), a colleague from the University of Glasgow (Jill Robbie), as well as former LLM students (Pedro Pablo Silva Sànchez and Antonia Zydek).

Policy-relevant research 

SCELG has a long-standing partnership with FAO at the intersection of human rights and biodiversity law. SCELG and the Strathclyde Centre for the Study of Human Rights Law have engaged in a series of joint initiatives, including under the One Ocean Hub and the process in Scotland on human rights leadership and the human right to a healthy environment. They are currently undertaking another consultancy for FAO on the collective rights of indigenous peoples to territories, lands and natural resources.