Development Governance Indonesia

Water Privatisation

Water privatisation is a human rights violation, said the Central Jakarta Disctrict Court in their ruling of March 24, 2015.

The court invalidated the contract of PT PAM Lyonnaise Jaya and Aetra and found that the public and private partnership was negligent in respecting and fulfilling the human right to water for Jakarta residents.

This decision is a culmination of years of legal struggles and political resistances involving major human rights organisations, trade unions, and water justice organisations. Complaints include that the water service has been lower and leakages have been increasing since the agreement signed in 2004 following the pressure from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. Moreover, Jakarta has the highest water tariff, about four times more than the Indonesian average and ten times more than that of Southeast Asian countries.

Important to note in this decision is that, first, the Court deliberately made a reference to Article 28 I of the Constitution that asserts, among others, the right to life.  They were of the opinion that no violations were found to the aspect of water availability, which is the subject of natural resource management as asserted in Article 33 of the Constitution. However, the Court found evidences on the hindrance of access to water since the implementation of the private and public partnership and therefore considered it as a human rights violation. Second, the court annulled the Law No. 7 of 2004,  which regulates the availability of water in Indonesia. The Law was considered insufficient to provide benchmarks pertaining to what extent private actors can have the authority over the governance of access and availability of water.

Development International Law

Book Launch Realizing the Right to Development

Last time I wrote about my publication on poverty which was published by the UN as part of an edited volume commemorating the 25th anniversary of Declaration on the Right to Development. Last week, the book was launched at the UN Offices in both Geneva and New York.  The content of the book is described on the website as follow.

Built around the themes of Situating – , Understanding – , Cooperating for – and Implementing – the Right to Development, the contributions to this volume not only clarify the meaning and status of this right but survey the most salient challenges—based on actual development practice—to its transformative potential. These studies give specific attention to the principles underlying this right, namely, active, free and meaningful participation in development; equality, non-discrimination and fair distribution of its benefits; self-determination and full sovereignty over natural wealth and resources; the rule of law and good governance; human rights-based approaches to development; global governance and reform; and social justice and equity, especially with regard to poverty, women and indigenous peoples. Further, these principles are applied to the issues of aid, debt, trade, technology transfer, intellectual property, access to medicines and climate change in the context of international cooperation, solidarity and the global partnership for development. Finally, several chapters review the proposals to monitor progress and enhance institutional support for implementing the Right to Development.

Unfortunately, I had to miss the roundtable discussion due to my teaching. But I am happy to found that they have a web live available to access online. Here is the link, if you are interested.


Development International Law

25 Years of the Right to Development

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Right to Development, the Office of Head Commisioner of Human Rights is organising several events, including publishing an edited book entitled ‘Realizing the Right to Development’.

I am very honoured to contribute an article on ‘Poverty’ to this landmark publication. The book will be launched in Geneva, 4 December 2013 and in New York, 9 December 2013. Seminars with experts in the field will be organised in both events.

The book is free to download here.

Development International Law

Challenges of Development: Asian Perspectives

My first publication for this year is a book review of `Challenges of Development: Asian Perspectives` edited by Francesco Bestagno and Luca Rubini Milan: Vita e Pensiero, 2010. xxi+161 pp. Softcover: £17; $27.20.

The review can be found in newest edition of the Asian Journal of International Law.
You can download it on the journal website.
Development Food Security

A missing link in the interdisciplinary research on food justice

Many researchers have studied how social factors shape agricultural production. Institutional and bureaucratic changes, like the self-sufficiency policy, the pattern of land holdings (in terms of size distribution of farm), land tenure and other contractual arrangements have contributed to efficiency of productions (i.e. Fagerberg, 2000). Diversity in cropping systems and market arrangements have also been argued as having implications for soil fertility management (Sanchez, 2002; Adjei-Nsiah, 2006). In the similar vein, gender-linked differences in the adoption of modern crop varieties and chemical fertilizer result from gender-linked differences in access to agricultural inputs (Doss and Morris, 2000).

The abundant amount of such streams of studies provides us with sufficient knowledge of and methodological suggestions for studying how social factors shape the physical and technical environment for agricultural production. This interest in insights on the social determinants of physical and technical environments has come at the expense of complementary studies regarding physical and technical determinants of social and, in particular, legal strategies.

The physical and technical environments are indeed connected with societal legal concerns, particularly pertaining to claims and strategies as well as settlement of disputes. A recent finding of research on land management in the oil palm based cropping system on the Adja Plateau in Benin conducted by the Soil Quality Department WUR shows that what looks as one field with crops and trees is in fact an arena for competing claims where informal and formal tenure rules interact; and where formalisation that results in increasing clear ownership may also weaker positions for the landless that use the land for growing food crops (Yemadje et al, forthcoming).  Conflicts between herders and agriculturalist could also show the same connection, especially in the context of land grabbing (Deininger and Castagnini, 2006; Peters, 2004).  Recommendations for treating specific physical and technical factors crucial for farmers, such as land (de Schutter, 2011) and seed (de Schutter, 2011), in different ways has been advocated a way to essentially deliver possible safety net from marginalisation.

What critically missing from the foregoing studies on the intersections between law and natural sciences is an explicit methodology how to study the influence of physical and technical features pertaining to food production to legal representations and strategies, where plurality is not only a character of the legal orders and the agricultural features but also in their interaction with the societal settings.