Pk wouters chatham house water security and international law
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Pk wouters chatham house water security and international law



Water Security and International Law, The New Politics of Water Water Security and economic growth in emerging economies, presentation June 2011 by Prof Pat Wouters, IHP-HELP Centre for Water Law, ...

Water Security and International Law, The New Politics of Water Water Security and economic growth in emerging economies, presentation June 2011 by Prof Pat Wouters, IHP-HELP Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science, to Chatham House, London.



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  • International water law finds its foundation within the rules of public international law, and thus is intertwined with those ideals contained in the UN Charter -- maintaining international peace and security, enhancing regional cooperation, preventing threats to the peace, and advancing the fundamental freedoms of all (UN Charter). International watercourses law provides a framework for managing the sustainability of transboundary waters that cross national borders and has evolved through a combination of customary law (state practice) and the codification and progressive development efforts undertaken by the UN, non-governmental organisations, private institutions, national and international judicial decisions, and the resolutions and recommendations of international organizations. Water law serves three key functions: • It defines and identifies the legal rights and obligations tied to water use (broadly defined) and provides the prescriptive parameters for resource development and management; • It provides tools for ensuring the continuous integrity of the regime– that is, through monitoring and assessment of compliance and implementation, dispute prevention, and settlement; • It allows for modifications of the existing regime, in order to be able to adapt to changing needs and circumstances.
  • Freshwater is a finite resource, and its sustained availability is one of the most critical modern challenges facing people and the environment globally (UNEP, 2010). Of the 1.4 billion cubic kilometers of water found on Earth, only 2.5%, approximately 37 million cubic kilometres, constitutes freshwater, and 90 percent of this is locked up in polar ice caps and groundwater reservoirs which are presently inaccessible. What is left to sustain humanity and the environment is 4.3 million cubic kilometres of accessible groundwater and only 127,300 cubic kilometres of surface. At the global level, there is currently a 40 per cent gap between the amount of water now available and the amount of water that will be needed in 2030 for aggregate food production, energy, municipal and industrial goals. The IPCC Climate Change and Water Report -- changes in water quantity and quality due to climate change will affect food availability, stability, access, and use, leading to decreased food security—summary of global predictions. The IPCC survey indicates an emergent global water crisis and illustrates how it cuts across political and socio-economic domains, scientific disciplines, and national sovereign boundaries.
  • Further, the interactions between different levels and other ‘securities’ is consistently being overlooked. For instance, a drought in an agricultural area could compromise human security (increasing poverty and affecting health), food security (availability of food for the own population), economic security (decrease in agricultural exports), energy security (diminishing availability of water for production of electricity), and environmental security (putting ecosystems under stress) at the local, regional or even international level.

Pk wouters chatham house water security and international law Pk wouters chatham house water security and international law Presentation Transcript

  • Water Security and International Law Prof. Patricia Wouters 14 June 2011 The New Politics of Water Water Security and economic growth in emerging economies
  • Discussion points
    • 1. International Law - context
    • 2. Transboundary Water Security
    • 3. Rule of law = new politics
  • Context = The Law of Nations “ to maintain international peace and security … and ... the fundamental freedoms of all … “ UN Charter
  • International Water Law / Law of Nations
  • Global Water Security Challenges No development without water 1.2 billion without safe drinking water and 2.4 billion without sanitation widening water gap Only a fraction readily available 1.4 billion km 3 of water on Earth Global environmental change worsening water crisis
  • GWP Vision of a water secure world
    • A water secure world is vital for a better future: a future in which there is enough water for social and economic development and for ecosystems . A water secure world integrates a concern for the intrinsic value of water together with its full range of uses for human survival and well-being. A water secure world harnesses water's productive power and minimises its destructive force. It is a world where every person has enough safe, affordable water to lead a clean, healthy and productive life. It is a world where communities are protected from floods, droughts, landslides, erosion and water-borne diseases. Water security also means addressing environmental protection and the negative effects of poor management, which will become more challenging as climatic variability increases. A water secure world reduces poverty, advances education, and increases living standards . It is a world where there is an improved quality of life for all , especially for the most vulnerable—usually women and children—who benefit most from good water governance .
    • – GWP Strategy 2009–2013
  • Water Security Matrix scal e Disciplinary interface Human National Regional Int’l / Global
  • Conflicts-of-use over water? (scale) Duty to cooperate?
  • Water hotspots : security challenges BBC News
    • “ Armed forces are put on standby to tackle threat of wars over water ” –
    • Across the world, they are coming: the water wars . From Israel to India, from Turkey to Botswana, arguments are going on over disputed water supplies that may soon burst into open conflict.”
    • Mr Reid signalled Britain's armed forces would have to be prepared to tackle conflicts over dwindling resources.
    • Military planners have already started considering the potential impact of global warming for Britain's armed forces over the next 20 to 30 years.
    • (The Independent - 28 /02/2006)
    • The world faces a future of “ water wars ”, unless action is taken to prevent international water shortages and sanitation issues escalating into conflicts ,
    • Gareth Thomas, the International Development Minister
    • (March 2010)
    The UK - ready for global water wars ?
  • Water for all? Reconciling competing needs
    • Legal Template for analysis:
    “ Who” gets “what” “water”, “when” and “why”? Rule of Law
  • Legal Analytical Framework: Testing resilience Key Elements Details 1. Scope
    • Legal reach (what waters?)
    • Definitions (watercourse; uses)
    • Parties (States; RIEOs)
    2. Substantive Rules
    • Legal duties & entitlements (equitable and reasonable utilisation; due diligence; protection)
    • Rules of substance (general or precise)
    3. Procedural Rules
    • Rules of procedure (duty to cooperate as bridge)
    • Notification / exchange of information
    4. Institutional Mechanisms
    • Joint bodies (RBOs)
    • Conference of the Parties (MoP; CoP)
    • Organisations / organs (Ministerial level; other)
    5. Dispute Settlement
    • Dispute avoidance (consultation)
    • Dispute settlement (Art. 33 UN WC; other)
    • Compliance verification (reporting; facilitation)
  • Legal Analytical Framework: State Practice
  • Water Security Analytical Framework
    • WSAF:
    • Legal framework
    • Informed by science
    • Dynamic
    What? Who? Why?
  • International Water Security: key issues Water Security Analytical Framework
  • Rule of law as platform for integration and implementation 1. Conditions for constructive foreign policy approaches
    • Law of nations – UN Charter: regional peace and security and fundamental freedoms of all
    • Duty to cooperate (substantive and procedural)
    • Peaceful settlement of disputes
    2. Effective water sharing agreements
    • Legal Analytical Framework : (i) scope; (ii) substantive rules; (iii) procedural rules; (iv) institutional mechanisms; (v) dispute settlement
    • 1997 UN Watercourses Convention
    • Regional watercourses agreements
    3. Resilience test?
    • Water Security Analytical Framework : (i) Availability; (ii) Access; (iii) Addressing conflicts-of-use
    • Governing rule of equitable and reasonable utilisation (all relevant factors considered together)
    • Rule of Law as integrating & implementation platform
    • Politics - “the activities associated with the governance of a country or area, especially the debate between parties having power ”; “the activities of governments concerning the political relations between states ” (Oxford dictionary)
    • Rule of law - “Dicey’s three aspects of the rule of law— regulating government power , implying equality before the law , and privileging judicial process—are commonly regarded as basic requirements of a formal understanding of the rule of law. “ (S. Chesterman, 2008)
    Rule of Law = New Politics of Water
  • Water Security Hierarchy (capacity tower) Local Water Leaders
  • Thank you!