Legal framework for transboundary water management Raya Stephan


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Legal framework for transboundary water management Raya Stephan

  1. 1. Legal Framework for Transboundary Water Management Towards supranational mechanisms in addressing the challenges of water scarcity in WANA Raya Marina Stephan
  2. 2. <ul><li>Outline </li></ul><ul><li>I. Transboundary water resources : a regional issue </li></ul><ul><li>II. International instruments : frameworks and guiding principles </li></ul><ul><li>III. Examples of regional settings </li></ul><ul><li>IV. Enforcing national capacities </li></ul>
  3. 3. I. Transboundary water resources : a regional issue <ul><li>One major characteristic of the water resources (surface and groundwater) in the WANA region: often shared between two or more States. </li></ul><ul><li>Countries sharing the resource are in a state of interdependence </li></ul><ul><li>Regional dimension for water quantity and quality when the water resources are shared. </li></ul><ul><li>Cooperation imperative for resource preservation and its sustainable development. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Existence of cooperation modalities, but limited -> numerous shared water basins are still managed in a unilateral manner by the concerned states </li></ul><ul><li>Water resources, even if they are shared, still considered as a national issue </li></ul>
  5. 5. II. International instruments : frameworks and guiding principles <ul><li>2 international instruments providing a legal framework for the management of shared water resources: </li></ul><ul><li>UN Convention on the Law of Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses (1997) </li></ul><ul><li>Resolution A/RES/63/124 on the Law of Transboundary Aquifers (2008) </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>UN Watercourse Convention </li></ul><ul><li>Applies to international watercourses </li></ul><ul><li>-> “ a system of surface waters and groundwaters constituting by virtue of their physical relationship a unitary whole and normally flowing into a common terminus” (article 2§a) </li></ul><ul><li>Codifies the 2 core principles of international water law: equitable and reasonable use and no harm rule </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Resolution A/RES/63/124 on the Law of Transboundary Aquifers (2008) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Encourages the States concerned to make appropriate bilateral or regional arrangements for the proper management of their transboundary aquifers, taking into account the provisions of these draft articles” </li></ul><ul><li>Formulate principles for the management of transboundary aquifers : the equitable and reasonable utilization and the no harm rule -> with specific adaptations to aquifers </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Resolution represents a first step towards the main objective : “the development, utilization, conservation, management and protection of groundwater resources in the context of the promotion of the optimal and sustainable development of water resources for present and future generations” </li></ul>
  9. 9. II. Examples of regional settings <ul><li>UN ECE Convention on the protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (1992) </li></ul><ul><li>SADC Revised Protocol on Shared Watercourses (2000) </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>UN ECE Water Convention </li></ul><ul><li>Applies to all transboundary waters -> “any surface or ground waters which mark, cross or are located on boundaries between two or more States” (article 1§1) </li></ul><ul><li>Guided by the equitable and reasonable use principle, the precautionary principle and the sustainable development </li></ul><ul><li>Procedural rules giving specific obligations to Riparian countries such as establishing and implementing joint programmes for monitoring </li></ul><ul><li>Reference to numerous agreements in Europe </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Revised Protocol on Shared Watercourses </li></ul><ul><li>Based on the UN Watercourse Convention </li></ul><ul><li>TBA considered as high priority : </li></ul><ul><li>Necessary to generate a complete understanding of a transboundary aquifer with adequate groundwater data and information to allow for the implementation of cooperative arrangements, either as part of existing agreements on surface waters or through other modalities </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Encouraging sign: </li></ul><ul><li>Arab Ministerial Water Council (AMWC) identified shared water resources as a regional priority, and passed a resolution during its second session in July 2010 to prepare a draft legal framework on shared waters within the Arab Region </li></ul>
  13. 13. IV. Enforcing national capacities and settings <ul><li>Governance of a shared water resource starts at the national level </li></ul><ul><li>-> importance of a proper national institutional and legal setting for water management </li></ul>
  14. 14. Thank you for your attention
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