The Multiple Challenges
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Laurence Boisson de Chazournes, Christina Leb and Mara Tignino
Chapter 9: Regional contributions to international water cooperation: the UNECE contribution
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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