Webinar - Business, human rights and the human right to water


12:30 to 13:30 (CET)
To access the webinar click on https://unige.zoom.us/j/69300585961

On the Human Rights Day, the Platform for International Water Law of the Geneva Water Hub is pleased to invite you to the Webinar on “Business, Human Rights and the Right to Water”. The Webinar is organized in the framework of the 2021 edition of the Distance Learning Course on “International Water Law and the Law of Transboundary Aquifers” delivered by the Centre for Continuing and Distance Education of the University of Geneva.

The objectives of this webinar are to explore the relationship between the human right to water and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and to analyse the role of this right in international investment law.
The UNGPs are a set of guidelines for States and companies to prevent, address and remedy human rights abuses committed in business operations. The Human Rights Council endorsed the UNGPs in its resolution 17/4 of 16 June 2011. They are grounded on three pillars: the duty of States to protect human rights, the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, and the access to remedy if the rights are not respected.

The webinar will also focus on the human right to water in international investment law. Indeed, an increasing number of international investment arbitration disputes concerns the ability of States to terminate concession contracts or impose regulations into poorly performing foreign investors. It is interesting to see how human rights obligations interact with international investment agreements when States take regulatory measures to fulfil the right to water. There are two different types of investment cases that have emerged with an impact on water: first, cases that have arisen from privatizations in the water sector. They mainly concern problems connected with physical access to water and affordability. Second, cases concerning investments in other industries that have the potential to degrade the quality of drinking water or to have a negative impact on groundwater resources.


Chair : Dr. Mara Tignino – Reader and Lead Legal Specialist, Geneva Water Hub, University of Geneva.

  • Prof. Angelica Bonfanti – Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Milano. "The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Human Right to Water."
  • Prof. Roberta Greco – Adjunct Professor, LUMSA University, Rome. "The Human Right Water in International Investment Law."
  • Questions & answers