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Seemingly Connected, Obviously Separate: The Parallel Realities of the UN Global Compact and the Multilateral Regimes in Water Governance

International Law Department, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva-14456, Switzerland
Received: 21 July 2018 / Revised: 21 October 2018 / Accepted: 29 October 2018 / Published: 5 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Business, Human Rights and Sustainable Development)
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Abstract

The UN Global Compact, being an institutional innovation in global governance, invites businesses to voluntarily commit to a selection of principles, rooted in multilateral regimes. Such commitment is expected to improve business practices and by that to close gaps in global governance. This spawns an expectation that through UN Global Compact business and multilateral treaty regimes will engage in mutually fertilizing and potentially coherent interaction to overcome the shortfalls of global governance. The current paper looks into this alleged interaction in the field of water stewardship and access to water. It explores first, the conceptual interdependence of the UN Global Compact and multilateral regimes in the respective fields and second, the ways in which the business practices reported under the UN Global Compact contribute to the advancement of the rules and principles thereof. The paper finds that the traditional multilateral systems and the innovative governance platform share an identical conceptual narrative but exist as separate realities on operational level. From the latter perspective the UN Global Compact might risk deepening governance gaps rather than close them. View Full-Text
Keywords: Global Compact; United Nations; non-state actors; water governance; human right to water; international water law; international water governance; international regimes; human rights obligations of private actors; business and human rights Global Compact; United Nations; non-state actors; water governance; human right to water; international water law; international water governance; international regimes; human rights obligations of private actors; business and human rights
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Samvel, G. Seemingly Connected, Obviously Separate: The Parallel Realities of the UN Global Compact and the Multilateral Regimes in Water Governance. Laws 2018, 7, 37.

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