Deeply equitable development: water provision and biodiversity offsetting in South Africa

Fulfilling human rights to a clean and healthy environment while sustaining that environment for present and future generations of humans and non-humans is unambiguously worthwhile until a nation tries to achieve these goals simultaneously. South Africa is a world leader as it implements laws and policies that promote human rights, raise citizens’ standards of living, and protect the ecological matrix that supports prosperity. Two related examples of South Africa’s quest to balance these goals will be research with the hope to offer advice on how the nation might continue to develop its ground-breaking legal reforms. In one project, I will examine how South Africa is balancing the Constitutional right to clean water while preserving the resource for present and future generations of humans and non-humans. In the second project, South Africa’s developing biodiversity offsetting policy, which attempts to balance the exigencies of economic development with the need to preserve biodiversity for current and future generations, will be studied. Both case studies address the urgent question of how developing nations may simultaneously steward vital ecological resources while raising citizens’ standard of living.

Project leader(s):
  • David Takacs (Hastings College of the Law, University of California)

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