Books  Sustainable Development  Environmental Law 

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

By: Flavia Rocha Loures (Editor), Alistair Rieu-Clarke (Editor)

400 pages, 5 b/w illustrations, 15 tables


Hardback | Jun 2011 | #207316 | ISBN-13: 9781849714464
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £64.99 $79/€73 approx

About this book

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.

The UN Watercourses Convention in Force 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 UN Watercourses Convention in Force 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.


Part 1: Background and Evolution
1. Introduction Alistair Rieu-Clarke & Flavia Rocha Loures
2. The progressive development of international water law Stephen C. McCaffrey
3. Possible Reasons Slowing Down the Ratification Process Flavia Rocha Loures, Joseph W. Dellapenna, Alistair Rieu-Clarke
4. Misconceptions Regarding the UN Watercourse Convention's Interpretation Salman MA Salman
5. Why Have States Joined the UN Watercourses Convention? Alistair Rieu-Clarke & Alexander Lopez

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 Flavia Rocha Loures, Alistair Rieu-Clarke & Johan Lammers
7. Impacts on the International Architecture for Transboundary Waters Alistair Rieu-Clarke & Guy Pegram
8. Factors that Could Limit the Effectiveness of the UN Watercourses Convention upon Entry into Force Alistair Rieu-Clarke & Alexander Lopez

Part 3: The potential role and relevance of the UN Watercourses Convention in specific regions, basins and countries
9. West Africa Amidou Garane & Teslim Abul-Kareem
10. Southern Africa Daniel Malzbender & Anton Earle
11. Central America Alexander Lopez & Ricardo Sancho
12. Nile River Basin Musa Mohammed Abseno
13. Aral Sea Basin Dinara Ziganshina
14. Amazon Basin Joshua Newton
15. Mekong Basin Bennett Bearden, Alistair Rieu-Clarke, Sokhem Pech
16. Ethiopia Musa Mohammed Abseno
17. El Salvador Alexander Lopez & Meg Patterson

Part 4: The UN Watercourses Convention, MEAs and International Water and Environmental Policy Goals
18. Convention on Climate Change Flavia Rocha Loures, Christian Behrmann, Ashok Swan
19. Convention to Combat Desertification Christian Behrmann, Ashok Swain, Flavia Rocha Loures
20. UNECE Water Convention Attila Tanzi
21. International Development and Environmental Goals Nicole Kranz, Lesha Witmer & Uschi Eid

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 Flavia Rocha Loures & Alistair Rieu-Clarke
23. Filling Gaps: A Protocol to Govern Groundwater Resources of Relevance to International Law Flavia Rocha Loures & Joseph W. Dellapenna
24. Reconciling the UN Watercourses Convention with Recent Developments in Customary International Law Owen McIntyre & Mara Tignino

Part 6: Emerging Challenges and Future Trends
25. Governing International Watercourses in an Era of Climate Change Jamie Pittock & Flavia Rocha Loures
26. Benefit Sharing in the UN Watercourses Convention and under International Water Law Patricia Wouters & Ruby Moynihan
27. Water Security - Legal Frameworks and the UN Watercourses Convention Patricia Wouters & Ruby Moynihan
28. Transboundary Water Interactions and the UN Watercourses Convention: Allocating Waters and Implementing Principles Naho Mirumachi, Mark Zeitoun & Jeroen Warner


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Flavia Rocha Loures is a Senior Program Officer, International Law and Policy, in the Freshwater Program of WWF-US, based in Washington DC. Alistair Rieu-Clarke is Senior Lecturer in the UNESCO Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science, at the University of Dundee, UK.

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