Table of Contents

International Law and Freshwater

International Law and Freshwater

The Multiple Challenges

New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series

Edited by Laurence Boisson de Chazournes, Christina Leb and Mara Tignino

International Law and Freshwater connects recent legal developments through the breadth and synergies of a multidisciplinary analysis. It addresses such critical issues as water security, the right to water, international cooperation and dispute resolution, State succession to transboundary watercourse treaties, and facets of international economic law, including trade in ‘virtual water’ and the impacts of ‘land grabs’.

Chapter 9: Regional contributions to international water cooperation: the UNECE contribution

Attila Tanzi

Subjects: environment, environmental law, water, law - academic, environmental law, public international law, water law


One may detect multifarious regional trends in water cooperation made up of bilateral or multilateral water agreements. In some regions of the world such trends have developed more than in others. Some common features may be found among water agreements in different (or the same) regions, according to their different scope, i.e. boundary demarcation, navigation, water allocation, pollution control or ecosystem protection. One may refer in that respect to the thorough analysis made by Professor Brown Weiss in her invaluable course on “The Evolution of International Water Law”, given at The Hague Academy in 2009.1 The fact remains that each water agreement—though it may share common features with other water agreements with partly, or totally, different riparian States in the same region—has specific characteristics of its own, being usually a basin-specific agreement. Therefore, even the most important water agreements or arrangements among numerous riparian parties reflect a collective regulatory framework addressing individual basin States having, at the most, a sub-regional dimension. By way of example, one may refer to the Mekong River Agreement or the Nile Basin Initiative. Somewhere in between such settings and a fully fledged regional framework one can pinpoint the sub-regional legal framework stemming from the 2010 Revised Protocol on Shared Watercourses in the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

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