Informing the regulatory framework on water and sanitation in Southern Africa: The emerging governance framework accompanying SDG 6

Authors: Germarié Viljoen and Bronwen Qumbu

ISSN: 2616-8499
Affiliations: LLB, LLM, LLD, Senior Lecturer in Law, North-West University; LLB, LLM, Lecturer in Law, North-West University
Source: South African Journal of Environmental Law and Policy 2020, p. 39 – 61


At least 40% of the people in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region do not have access to safe water and sanitation, rendering them vulnerable to prolonged conflicts and catastrophes, including exposure to water-borne diseases, other pandemics, poverty and human suffering. Although several international and African regional treaties support the human rights to water and sanitation, the ability of the SADC regulatory framework to give effect to these rights is concerning. In fact, available literature on the SADC’s ability to meaningfully realise these rights is fragmented and scant. This article examines theoretically a novel governance approach to the implementation of Sustainable Goal 6 of the United Nations 2030 Agenda. The article argues that the coercion through regional ‘goal setting’ may provide a conclusive, regional response to the continuing development of water and sanitation rights in the SADC region.