Policy Brief: The Human Right to Domestic and Productive Water

25 08 2015

In 2010, a milestone was reached when the UN General Assembly recognized the human right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation. Yet, water also plays an important role in realizing other human rights such as the right to food and livelihoods, and in realizing the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. These broader water-related rights have been recognized but not operationalized. This (draft) policy brief argues for a more holistic interpretation of existing international human rights law that supports a broader range of water-related rights. In addition, it raises the question of whether the current formulation of the human right to safe and clean drinking water, could limit development opportunities for people in rural and peri-urban communities who also use water for productive activities around the homestead.

We would welcome any comments you might have on this policy brief that should be viewed as a working draft.


Pictures from Orientation and Cadet Parade

22 08 2015

Over the past several days, Virginia Tech as come alive with returning and new students. In the slideshow below, I capture a few images from the SPIA and UAP orientation and the New Cadets Parade that was held this morning.

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Sustainable Transportation – Flier

31 07 2015

Here are a few key points about our new book on Sustainable Transportation that are also captured on the flier below:

▶ Introduces the planning and management of sustainable development in the transportation sector.

▶ Combines theory on sustainability and transportation governance with concrete cases from pioneering practices.

▶ Numerous discussion points provide a basis for students and practitioners to critically reflect on existing practices.

Sustainable Transportation

New Sustainable Transportation Book

15 07 2015

I’m pleased to announce the publication of our new book on “Sustainable Transportation: Indicators, Frameworks, and Performance Management.”

This book is the result of six years of collaboration between Dr. Henrik Gudmundsson (Technical University of Denmark), Dr. Greg Marsden (University of Leeds), Dr. Josias Zietsman (Texas A&M University), and I. It draws from decades of collective experience in the areas of sustainable development and sustainable transportation, focused on research, teaching, and practice.

The book is intended to provide students and practitioners with a deep understanding of the basic concepts of sustainability as well as a coherent framework for how to apply them consistently in the context of transportation planning, management, and decision making at different levels.

A version of the book will also be published by Samfundslitteratur for the nordic market.


In the coming weeks we will launch a book website that will contain additional information and updates.

MUS Research in Burkina Faso

1 07 2015

On Sunday, our research team – consisting of Emily Van Houweling, Sophie Wenzel, Nicholas Polys, Paige Williams, and I – arrived in Burkina Faso to study the water accounting process developed by Winrock International as part of their Multiple-Use Water Services (MUS) project. Our team will be here for two weeks, during which we will visit project communities and identify opportunities to further advance the water accounting process by drawing on the unique skill set of the research team.

Emily Van Houweling, Sophie Wenzel, Paige Williams, Ralph Hall, and Nicholas Polys

Emily Van Houweling, Sophie Wenzel, Paige Williams, Ralph Hall, and Nicholas Polys

Winrock’s MUS project is one of several funded by the USAID WA-WASH (West Africa Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene) Program. The WA-WASH program focuses on increasing sustainable access to safe water and sanitation and improved hygiene in Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Niger. The program is a complex endeavor that includes some thirteen partners and is led by Florida International University (FIU).

This research expedition was made possible by a grant from Virginia Tech’s Institute for Environment, Culture, and Environment.

Fall 2015 – Certificate Courses

4 06 2015

Originally posted on Virginia Tech Graduate Certificate in Global Planning and International Development Studies:

If you are a graduate student who is planning to obtain the Certificate in Global Planning and International Development Studies, please consider taking one or more of the following courses during the fall 2015 semester.

Core Class:

  • UAP 5764G International Development Policy and Planning

Elective Classes:

  • PHS 5004 Fundamentals of Public Health
  • PHS 5224 Comparative Health Systems
  • PHS 5314 Infectious Disease Epidemiology
  • BC 5144 Sustainable Infrastructure Systems
  • UAP 5864 Topics in Transportation Policy and Planning
  • UAP-5534 Nonprofit Leadership & Governance

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2015 Graduate Commencement

17 05 2015

20150515_130223_840v2On Friday, May 15, I had the pleasure of hooding Dr. Yehyun (Hannah) An during the 2015 Graduate Commencement Ceremony in Cassell Coliseum. The video below (taken through Google Glass) provides a unique faculty perspective of the event that includes the moment I hood Hannah.

This year Prof. Charles Nichols composed Commencement Address, for double brass quintet, for the ceremony that was performed by the Virginia Tech Brass Ensemble (Prof. Jay Crone, Conductor).


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