The Multiple Challenges
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Laurence Boisson de Chazournes, Christina Leb and Mara Tignino
Chapter 12: The Senegal River legal regime and its contribution to the development of the law of international watercourses in Africa
Twenty-five years ago, the late Godana was stressing that despite the gap between, on the one hand, “the great number of [African] international drainage basins and their potential for socio-economic development of the States” and, on the other hand, “the dearth of efforts at international regulation of these immense resources, especially on the basis of a basin-wide approach,” it was noteworthy that “the efforts made [were] much more impressive.” Among the international rivers mentioned by Godana (the Nile, the Congo, the Niger and the Senegal), the Senegal River (hereinafter also referred to as “the Senegal”) more than any other African river has been characterized and governed by the most pioneered, progressive and articulated legal regime. The leitmotif has been since the inception of the said legal regime to “engage in an experiment in international organization that is not only following the most advanced concepts of integrated river basin development, but which may also afford a lesson in cooperation on a broad scale.” It is because of this very nature that the legal architecture designed to foster cooperation over the management of the Senegal has influenced the development of the law of international watercourses in Africa.
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