Analyzing Sierra Leone's Water Reform Efforts: Law, Environment, and Sociocultural Justice Issues

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Sierra Leone, water, law, cultural diversity, sociocultural justice, environmental justice

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Sierra Leone is in the process of reforming its water sector as part of its economic growth and development agenda, thereby providing an opportunity to formulate a coherent vision for water governance. Similar to other African countries with a British colonial legacy, Sierra Leone has a dual governance system in which Western statutes co-exist with and supersede so-called customary laws. Cultural differences exist in the two approaches to natural resource governance with implications for environmental and sociocultural justice. This legal dualism is further complicated in the postcolonial period by World Bank-led neoliberal water policy reforms. I analyze the extent to which Sierra Leone water law reform incorporates environmental, sociocultural, and human rights provisions embodied in selected African regional legal instruments and the global neoliberal agenda of water as an economic good. The findings for Sierra Leone have value for other postcolonial African countries with similar historical, political, economic, and sociocultural patterns.

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Politics, Groups, and Identities, v. 3, issue 4, p. 655-659