Monday 29 March & Tuesday 30 March, 2010  


        Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, USA 

Conference Chair:

        Dr. Farhana Sultana, Geography Department, Maxwell School, Syracuse University, USA 

Conference Organizers:

        Dr. Farhana Sultana, Geography Department, Maxwell School, Syracuse University, USA

        Dr. Alex Loftus, Geography Department, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK


'The Right to Water'

In recent years, struggles over the right to water have emerged as a focal point for political mobilization in a range of locations around the world. Although formalized in the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights General Comment No. 15 of 2002, political actions have now focused on realizing this possibility in specific contexts. Celebrated by some as a powerful force for ensuring fair access to basic resources, others have questioned the means, direction and emancipatory potentials of such struggles. While struggles for the right to water can articulate with specific historical geographies, they simultaneously connect with broader global concerns and universal rights discourses. Nonetheless, as some have pointed out, such struggles can obfuscate as much as they clarify and can even further the very agendas some activists seek to counter. This conference takes these debates as its starting point. Above all, it seeks to question the immanent potentials in local, national and global struggles for the right to water, thereby enhancing our understanding and insights on the ways global discourses on the right to water intersect with local political economic and cultural dynamics.

The “Right to Water” conference is an interdisciplinary and international conference to elucidate strategic possibilities for ensuring equitable access to water worldwide. This event will explore how universal calls for the right to water articulate with local historical and geographical contexts. The event will engage an interdisciplinary network of scholars and practitioners and highlight key debates via keynote lectures and papers presented by leading figures from the academic, policy and activist communities. The sessions will question:

  • How important is the human right to water – and how is it mobilized – in different struggles for equitable access to water?
  • How influential are international discourses on rights in shaping access to water in different contexts?
  • How do broader discourses articulate with local historical geographies of struggles for water and rights discourses?

The conference promises to generate significant new insights into how to understand, recognize, and apply a human right to water in differing geographical contexts – and bring increased geographical sensitivity to calls for a universal right to water. A post-conference publication, in the form of an edited book, will seek to frame the key contributions and take these forward as a critical resource for future research and action.  



** Check out the conference photos and the video of the plenary session! (tabs on left)

** Please register to attend the conference from the Registration tab (on the left). Registration is now closed.

** Please check the Conference Program for details of sessions, times, and locations.

** Click to access the conference Press Release

** Click to access the Conference Poster

The conference will consist of invited keynote lectures and paper presentations. The conference will commence with opening lectures on Monday, March 29th afternoon and will continue with papers, posters, and discussion sessions on Tuesday, March 30th. All sessions will be held in the Maxwell School, Syracuse University. Please contact the Conference Chair, Dr. Farhana Sultana, with any queries at waterconference at syr.edu.   



There is no conference registration fee, but we require that you please register to attend the conference (from the 'Registration' tab on the left). Please only register to attend if you will actually be able to (and will be able to travel to Syracuse on your own to do this). Unfortunately we cannot cover any costs of attendance. For queries, please contact Dr. Farhana Sultana at waterconference at syr.edu.



Abstract submission – December 30, 2009

Notification of acceptance – January 15, 2010

Conference registration – January 15 - March 29, 2010

Conference – March 29-30, 2010

Chapter submission – Summer 2010 (date TBA)