Law, Responsibility and Indigenous thought for the governance of Common Goods: the Case of Water
Mizan Institute Symposium: Indigenous People’s Rights and Studies, Kuala Lumpur
Betsan Martin, September 2017
The interest of this paper is what forms of governance and law are needed. This paper considers forms of law and governance to recognize human interdependence with the earth. A framework of responsibility is introduced as significant for governing for interdependence. Public trusteeship has potential to strengthen public good interests in the governance of natural resources such as water. Public Trust enabled indigenous Hawai’ian litigants to achieve regulation for ecosystem health and indigenous interests, alongside business interests.
In going beyond the borders of standard state law, innovations in law are considered. Examples are given of indigenous leadership in taking the law beyond standard liberal jurisprudence, as the recent vesting of the Whanganui River in Aotearoa New Zealand as a Legal Person. The contributions of indigenous law to governing earth’s common resources are discussed in the context of amplifying the responsibility dimension of law.
Context: The situation of global interdependence is the backdrop for
international examples of Public Trusteeship (Hawai’i) and for specific reference
to Aotearoa-New Zealand. The Pacific region is a reference for Indigenous
knowledge; litigation in Aotearoa New Zealand and Hawai’I is leading to
Innovations in law for fresh water.
The whole of the intervention can be downloaded here
Downloads: responsible_law_f_betsan_martin_kl._malaysia_nov2017.pdf (270 KiB)