A Right to Safe Water?
Each year, 1.6 million children worldwide die from diarrheal disease. Many of these deaths, says Michael Kremer, could be prevented by effective water treatment, as occurred in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 2010, the General Assembly of the United Nations and the UN Human Rights Council recognized a human right to water and sanitation. Yet standard procedure among many organizations in the field is to rely on user fees to cover maintenance and recurrent costs of such service. Kremer will analyze the case for such fees—from a rights-based perspective, from a health cost-effectiveness perspective, and from a public finance perspective—in light of empirical findings on the health impact of water treatment and on the psychology and economics of preventative measures against communicable disease. He will discuss the financial and institutional steps that would be needed to create near-universal access to safe drinking water.
This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided.