Harmonizing International Water Law: Current Challenges and Future Prospects
Legal Instruments for the Implementation of Sustainable Development (Vol. II), 2012
18 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2014
Date Written: July 1, 2012
Development of an international legal regime governing water resources is, at present, an uncoordinated and inconsistent practice. While the 1997 United Nations Convention on the Law of Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses made an attempt to codify international norms relating to water, the Convention remains unratified fifteen years later. As a result, successive efforts to promote the development of international water law have been faced with the unenviable task of either reconciling the Convention’s status with current understandings of customary international law (e.g., the 2004 Berlin Rules on Water Resources) or progressing in spite of it (e.g., the 2008 Draft Articles on the Law of Transboundary Aquifers). A harmonization of the various legal instruments – principally, the Watercourses Convention and the Law of Transboundary Aquifers – would strengthen existing principles and lay a foundation for the development of a more robust and synergistic regime.
Keywords: international water law, watercourses, transboundary aquifers, customary principles, United Nations, equitable use; no significant harm; territorial sovereignty
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