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, septembre 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

telechargement responsible_law_f_betsan_martin_kl._malaysia_nov2017.pdf (270 Kio)