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Water struggles in Argentina: international policies, NGOs, and civil society in the pursuit of water rights

Vietz, Maria (2013) Water struggles in Argentina: international policies, NGOs, and civil society in the pursuit of water rights. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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As the world’s most valued resource, water has been the source of debate, conflict and even wars throughout history. Its centrality to human life and dignity is universally accepted, but the best means for providing water access are highly debated. The polarity between a market-based approach of privatization and a recent shift towards a rights-based approach has been the source of worldwide societal struggles for water access. In the last decade, international human rights agreements were key in the global shift to a rights-based approach. The conventions and initiatives at the international level were brought to local communities through non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that informed and advocated for the public. Although I expected that the international community was the most important player in the realization of water rights, I found that Argentine society, in conjunction with many other communities around the world, actually contributed to the beginnings of the international establishment of the human right to water. A combination of developments in Argentina in recent decades. Including: a notoriously failed water privatization scheme in the 1990s, an active and human rights-oriented public, and major domestic political transitions, showed the power of civil society to create positive change and showed the implications and obstacles for the establishment of the human right to water. This country case study showed both the consequences of internationally hegemonic policies and the increasing public support for the legal recognition of water rights.

For this research, I analyzed the interactions between five main players in the water industry: international organizations, the state, multinational corporations (MNCs), national NGOs, and civil society, which I identify as active community groups. The cases, protests, and community solutions to water issues in Argentina offer promising evidence that current international acknowledgement of water rights is necessary but not sufficient. Through more participatory decision-making, using examples of such success stories as in Argentina, the human right to water can be realized throughout the world.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorNelson , Paulpjnelson@pitt.eduPJNELSON
Committee MemberRouse,
Committee MemberGoldman, Karenkgoldman@pitt.eduKGOLDMAN
Committee MemberAlfredson, Lisalsa@pitt.eduLSA
Date: 3 September 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 29 May 2013
Approval Date: 3 September 2013
Submission Date: 17 June 2013
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 68
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: University Honors College
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: What are the roles of international policies, NGOs and civil society in the pursuit of water rights in Argentina?
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2013 16:07
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:13


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