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date: 18 November 2017

Abstract and Keywords

Water is a life-sustaining, common good that is particularly endangered by a growing world population and by climate change. This chapter discusses four normative approaches to water ethics in terms of a human right to water, an ecocentric approach to the non-instrumental values of water, water justice, and water cooperation. It argues that water cooperation is the most promising approach to resolving tragic conflicts. In particular, it is informed both by a rights-approach and by an ecocentric approach to water as a common good. Scholars are asked to draw a normative map related to values and interests in nature first—a map that highlights vulnerabilities of natural resources as well as the sources of value of these goods in concrete scenarios. The corresponding ethos is not one-dimensional; instead, it includes the value of integrity as well as approaches to an attitude of care and procedural fairness.

Keywords: water rights, water justice, ecological cooperation, common pool good, tragedies of the commons

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