Constitutionalising the Right to Water in Kenya and Slovenia: Domestic Drivers, Opportunity Structures, and Transnational Norm Entrepreneurs
Relevance and Rationale
2. Theoretical Framework
2.1. Norm Diffusion and Norm Entrepreneurs
2.2. Opportunity Structure
3. Methods and Data
4. Transnational Norm Entrepreneurs and the Development of the Human Right to Water and Sanitation
4.1. The International Norm Development
4.2. Central Actors at the International Level
The use of the word “including” indicates that this catalogue of rights was not intended to be exhaustive. The right to water clearly falls within the category of guarantees essential for securing an adequate standard of living, particularly since it is one of the most fundamental conditions for survival.
5.1. Key Actors
5.2. Political Opportunity Structures
5.3. Normative Opportunity Structures
… expected that the new Constitution would take into account the needs and aspirations of the disadvantaged and marginalised members of society. In many respects, they expected the new Constitution to solve a myriad of socio-economic problems and create a drastic improvement in their livelihood, especially alleviate poverty, eradicate corruption, create employment opportunities, and provide adequate food, shelter, health, education, water, and land for every Kenyan (sic).
The international community has long realized that for our inherent dignity and right to life to be respected, the material conditions of our lives must be such that it is possible. […] That is recognized from long ago in 1948 by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which deals very explicitly with the conditions of life, deals very explicitly with the need for matters such as inadequate standards of living including food, clothing, housing, medical care, and social services […].In South Africa, what we did was we followed the structure of the international covenant on economic, social, and cultural rights. We said we would have a general statement of the rights followed by the description of the duties. You have got [… a] copy of our bill of rights, and [if] you turn later to Section 26 of that, you will see the housing right, which explains how we have tried to deal with it. Let me turn to that. Section 26 I of our bill of rights of our Constitution contains a general statement of the right. Everyone has the right to have access to adequate housing; it is a fundamental right, which everyone has to have access to […], and it is the general statement of the right.
… use of community-based social, religious, and civic/ political organisations, individuals, and networks in Kenyan society as channels and influencers to communicate with people “face-to-face”. Examples would be speaking through women’s groups, barazas, and church groups, etc. A radio entertainment-educational serial drama linked to community level activities is also recommended as a central activity for this phase.
6.1. Key Actors
6.2. Political and Socio-Economic Opportunity Structures
6.3. Normative Opportunity Structures
Our main goal was to be clearly written into the Constitution that water and water land is a natural public good, over which no-one can acquire ownership rights; that everyone has the right to drinking water; that the water supply of the population cannot be owned by private companies in any legal-formal way, and that the provision of the water supply to the public is a service which should not generate profit and that the water supply of the population has the absolute precedence over economic exploitation in the case of the water crisis or drought or other crises, and that the water resources be managed sustainably, with thoughts on our posterity.
7.1. Political Structures and Contexts
7.2. Framing of the Right to Water
7.3. Links to International Actors and Discourses
There were no special contacts between our civic initiative and other NGOs across Europe, nor did we follow the example of some other countries that constitutionalised the right to water.
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
|Type of document||Constitution (drafts and old constitution included)|
|Present actors or author of document||State actors||Review Committee|
|Special and topical committees|
|Politicians and parliamentarians|
|NGOs and CSOs||NGOs or civil society organisations|
|The People||Private persons, the people|
|Representatives of groups in society|
|Professionals||Scholars, academics, professionals|
|Water and sanitation—categories||Right / human right|
|Minorities, marginalised groups (women, children, pastoralists, informal settlers)|
|Persons held in custody|
|Responsibility for provision|
|Natural resources and environment|
|Inequality (geographical, social, in access)|
|NGOs or civil society actors||Names of the NGOs and civil society actors|
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|Factors||Kenya||Slovenia||Similarities and Differences|
|Time of constitutionalisation process||2002–2010||2013–2016||Similar time period, proximity to international norm development.|
|Scope of the right compared to international norm (which includes sanitation)||“Every person has the right (…) to reasonable standards of sanitation; (…) to clean and safe water in adequate quantities”||“(R)ight to water for household use” indirectly including the right to sanitation||Similar in scope although sanitation is implicit in Slovenia. Both reflect scope of international right but with differences in wording.|
|Material context: water governance challenges||High levels of water scarcity, low government capacity||Increased prices due to privatisation, deteriorating water quality, high government capacity||Differ in water governance concerns and capacity. Water and sanitation challenges are larger in Kenya, while State capacity to address them is lower.|
|Geographical context||Regional influences from Africa, particularly South Africa||Regional influences from EU and Europe||Different regional context. Slovenia’s integration in the EU provides a more comprehensive water governance framework.|
|Normative context: broader rights discourse||Socio-economic rights; right to life with dignity; health; food; housing; social security; education||Anti-privatisation, environmental rights; right to natural resources; sustainability||Differ in normative context: in Kenya, socio-economic right discourse is strong; in Slovenia, anti-privatisation, public ownership, and environmental rights are dominant.|
|Scope of constitutionalisation process||Part of new constitution||Constitutional amendment||Differ in attention to issue.|
Presumably more focus on water in Slovenia, where it was the sole focus of an amendment, than in Kenya, where the whole constitution was on the table.
|Platform for decision-making/mobilisation||Constitutional review committee (and referendum)||Parliament||Differ in decision-making structure, with the process in Kenya presumably more open to bottom-up mobilisation compared to Slovenia with a parliamentary process.|
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Loen, M.; Gloppen, S. Constitutionalising the Right to Water in Kenya and Slovenia: Domestic Drivers, Opportunity Structures, and Transnational Norm Entrepreneurs. Water 2021, 13, 3548. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13243548
Loen M, Gloppen S. Constitutionalising the Right to Water in Kenya and Slovenia: Domestic Drivers, Opportunity Structures, and Transnational Norm Entrepreneurs. Water. 2021; 13(24):3548. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13243548Chicago/Turabian Style
Loen, Mathea, and Siri Gloppen. 2021. "Constitutionalising the Right to Water in Kenya and Slovenia: Domestic Drivers, Opportunity Structures, and Transnational Norm Entrepreneurs" Water 13, no. 24: 3548. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13243548