The UN Watercourses Convention in Force : Strengthening International Law for Transboundary Water Management book cover
1st Edition

The UN Watercourses Convention in Force
Strengthening International Law for Transboundary Water Management

ISBN 9781849714464
Published August 28, 2013 by Routledge
392 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

At the UN General Assembly in 1997, an overwhelming majority of States voted for the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses – a global overarching framework governing the rights and duties of States sharing freshwater systems.  Globally, there are 263 internationally shared watersheds, which drain the territories of 145 countries and represent more than forty percent of the Earth's land surface. Hence, inter-State cooperation towards the sustainable management of transboundary water supplies, in accordance with applicable international legal instruments, is a topic of crucial importance, especially in the context of the current global water crisis. 

This volume provides an assessment of the role and relevance of the UN Watercourses Convention and describes and evaluates its entry into force as a key component of transboundary water governance. To date, the Convention still requires further contracting States before it can enter into force. The authors describe the drafting and negotiation of the Convention and its relationship to other multilateral environmental agreements. A series of case studies assess the role of the Convention at various levels: regional (European Union, East Africa, West Africa, Central Asia, Central America and South America), river basin (e.g. the Mekong and Congo) and national (e.g. Ethiopia and Mexico).  The book concludes by proposing how future implementation might further strengthen international cooperation in the management of water resources, to promote biodiversity conservation as well as sustainable and equitable use.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Background and Evolution  1. Introduction  2. The progressive development of international water law  3. Possible Reasons Slowing Down the Ratification Process  4. Misconceptions Regarding the UN Watercourse Convention’s Interpretation  5. Why Have States Joined the UN Watercourses Convention?  Part 2: Entry into Force and Widespread Endorsement: Potential Effects on International Law and State Practice  6. The Authority and Function of the UN Watercourses Convention  7. Impacts on the International Architecture for Transboundary Waters  8. Factors that Could Limit the Effectiveness of the UN Watercourses Convention upon Entry into Force  Part 3: The potential role and relevance of the UN Watercourses Convention in specific regions, basins and countries  9. West Africa  10. Southern Africa  11. Central America  12. Nile River Basin  13. Aral Sea Basin  14. Amazon Basin  15. Mekong Basin  16. Ethiopia  17. El Salvador  Part 4: The UN Watercourses Convention, MEAs and International Water and Environmental Policy Goals  18. Convention on Climate Change  19. Convention to Combat Desertification  20. UNECE Water Convention  21. International Development and Environmental Goals  Part 5: Beyond Entry into Force: Strengthening the Role and Relevance of the UN Watercourses Convention  22. An Institutional Structure to Support the Implementation Process  23. Filling Gaps: A Protocol to Govern Groundwater Resources of Relevance to International Law  24. Reconciling the UN Watercourses Convention with Recent Developments in Customary International Law  Part 6: Emerging Challenges and Future Trends  25. Governing International Watercourses in an Era of Climate Change  26. Benefit Sharing in the UN Watercourses Convention and under International Water Law  27. Water Security – Legal Frameworks and the UN Watercourses Convention  28. Transboundary Water Interactions and the UN Watercourses Convention: Allocating Waters and Implementing Principles

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Flavia Rocha Loures is a Senior Program Officer, International Law and Policy, in the Freshwater Program of WWF, based in Washington, DC. 

Alistair Rieu-Clarke is a Reader in the Centre for Water Law, Policy & Science (under the auspices of UNESCO) at the University of Dundee, UK.