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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: March 2019

Chapter 7 - Suriname


“We, the people of Suriname, value and protect our biological diversity, including all natural and cultural resources, through equitable and sustainable use for present and future generations. A national commitment to Suriname's biological wealth, integrating all sectors of society, will allow people to experience the full benefits of sustainable management and wise use while maintaining and enhancing the diversity of the country's cultural and natural heritage.”


The previous chapters laid out which obligations states have towards vulnerable individuals and groups in relation to their to access water. The protection of water resources plays an important role in this but also the (re)allocation of these resources is an important factor as well. The standards have been set at the international level through soft and hard law instruments. However, for individuals and groups it is most relevant how and whether states have implemented these obligations at the national level. Therefore, this study includes case-studies to explore whether and how international obligations and other standards influence how a sustainable human right to water is shaped for vulnerable groups and individuals and how water resources should be managed. To demonstrate this the Republic of Suriname was selected. The two cases (Paramaribo and Brokopondo) which are set in this state show how access to water is managed and what the different challenges are. They explore the relationship between the human right to water and how water resources are managed. Figure 7.1 which was introduced in chapter 5 illustrate this relationship. The protection and management of water resources form the outer boundaries of the realization of the human right to water.

Suriname has a great wealth of water resources, so much so that it is in the top 10 of water-rich countries in the world. Therefore it can be assumed that Suriname has the necessary natural resources to provide all of its inhabitants, including vulnerable groups, with access to safe water. However, not every inhabitant of Suriname is currently guaranteed access to safe drinking water, especially those living outside of the urban areas, due to regional discrepancies in coverage. According to the Ministry of Labour, Technological Development and Environment threats to the freshwater ecosystems are: ‘(1) pollution (urban-domestic and industrial waste) e.g. mining activities, (2) changes in land use, (3) agriculture runoff (e.g. pesticides), (4) climate change (droughts, floods), and (5) sea level rise (saltwater intrusion).’

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