Law School Human Rights versus Human Needs: Debating the Language for Universal Access to Modern Energy Services Manuel Peter S. Solis 3 July 2014 12th IUCNAEL Colloquium Human Rights versus Human Needs Outline of presentation I. Background II. International perspective III. Implications of lack of access to modern energy services IV. Importance of language V. The Debate: Rights versus Needs VI. Conclusion Human Rights versus Human Needs http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/energy/great-energy-challenge/world-electricity-mix/ Human Rights versus Human Needs Issue = 1.3 billion today; 1.2 billion in 2030 85% in rural areas Human Rights versus Human Needs In Top 20 High Impact Countries 16 million unelectrified people (SEFA, 2013 Global Tracking Framework Report) Human Rights versus Human Needs From Brundtland to Now Brundtland Report 2001 1992 2000 1986 UNCED AGECC WEA MDG 2012 2010 UN Millennium Project 2013 2011 2005 2004 CSD-9 Rio + 20 & Int’l Year for SEFA UNSG Vision Statement SEFA UN Decade for SEFA (2014-2024 Human Rights versus Human Needs Lack of access to modern energy services • Deprivation of basic needs • Impedes poverty eradication/development • Widens gap between “haves” and “have-nots” • Results to marginalisation • Involves disempowerment and equity considerations • Inhibits full and effective enjoyment of human rights Human Rights versus Human Needs • The importance of language Words can clarify or obscure Framing of issues Setting priorities Operationalising concepts Reaching a common understanding • Legal response is vital to advancing international and national development agenda and goals. (Adrian Bradbrook, et. al, 2008) • What is the legal response to the challenge? Human Rights versus Human Needs Bone of contention “The modern expansion of government has led to proposals for reinterpreting the Fourteenth Amendment to guarantee the provision of basic services such as education, poor relief, and, presumably, police protection, even if they are not being withheld discriminatorily .... It is enough to note that, as currently understood, the concept of liberty in the Fourteenth Amendment does not include a right to basic services, whether competently provided or otherwise.” (Jackson v City of Joliet, 715 F.2d 1200 (1983), 1203-1204; Emphasis supplied) Human Rights versus Human Needs The Language of Needs Mark Tushnet, 1984 Critique of rights Why “needs” • Unstable More pragmatic and better path to follow: • Indeterminate “People need food and shelter now, and demanding those needs to be satisfied … as enforcing a right – strikes me as more likely to succeed than claiming that existing rights to food and shelter must be enforced”. • Reifies • Pragmatic disutility Human Rights versus Human Needs The Language of Rights Jeremy Waldron, 2000 Critique of needs Why “rights” • More indeterminate and contestable • Active not passive • Passive • Moral framework • Presumed inequality • From charity to claim • Suppliant pleas • Empowering Human Rights versus Human Needs Proposition Couch universal access to modern energy services in the language of rights, because: • • • • Consistent with the concept of dignity, subsistence and equality Claim not charity Accountability and empowerment Catalyse change Human Rights versus Human Needs QUESTIONS?