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Derecho de Agua y Derecho Indígena: Hacia un Reconocimiento Estructural de la Gestión Indígena del Agua en las Legislaciones Nacionales de los Países Andinos

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Gentes, Ingo
Date: 2001
Agency: Water Law and Indigenous Rights (WALIR), Wageningen University, The Netherlands
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/7443
Sector: Social Organization
Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: Central America & Caribbean
South America
Subject(s): water management
indigenous institutions
customary law
Abstract: "In the Andean region of Latin America, 'water cultures' and 'local hydraulic identities' play a key role in the challenge to work towards rational management and sustainable and equitable distribution of the water resources. However, indigenous and peasant water use organizations face enormous problems related to discrimination and destruction of their livelihoods and water management systems. On top of a water resources distribution that is extremely unequal and unjust to the disadvantage of indigenous peoples and peasant communities, the encroachment of their water rights and the neglect and destruction of their management rules by powerful exogenous sectors is increasing day by day. Not all law- and policy-making actors and institutions are aware of this fact. For example, even though a special Forum Session was organized in the Second World Water Forum in The Hague, 2000, in order to analyze the theme of 'Water and Indigenous Peoples', the participants had to draw the alarming conclusion in the final statement that '...having examined the Forum documents, the indigenous peoples and their unique system of values, knowledge and practices have been overlooked in the Global Water Vision process.' There is an urgent need to counteract the discrimination and subordination of indigenous and customary water rights and management systems, regarding not just the rights to have access to water resources but also the rights to management and policy decision-making, and therefore, their representation in decision-making bodies. The aim of this paper is to present a conceptual document for the WALIR programme’s discussions and comparative research activities, with the final aim to contribute to a better comprehension of indigenous water rights in the south Andean region, to raise awareness among the decision-makers regarding the need for legal and policy changes and, finally, to contribute to a better recognition of indigenous and customary rights and water management rules in national legislation."

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