Regional Environmental Law

Regional Environmental Law

Transregional Comparative Lessons in Pursuit of Sustainable Development

New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series

Edited by Werner Scholtz and Jonathan Verschuuren

The core focus of this timely volume is to ascertain how regional environmental law may contribute to the pursuit of global sustainable development. Leading scholars critically analyze the ways in which states may pool sovereignty to find solutions to environmental problems, presenting a comparative legal analysis of the manner in which the AU, EU, OAS and ASEAN deal with the issues of climate change, human rights and the environment.

Chapter 8: Sustainable water resource management and the Amazon basin

Beatriz Garcia and Jorge Thierry Calasans

Subjects: development studies, law and development, environment, environmental law, law - academic, comparative law, environmental law, law and development


The Amazon is the largest water basin in the world and contains a multitude of shared rivers and natural resources, which connect the basin States and offer many opportunities for cooperation. However, regional cooperation in the Amazon is still limited. There are only a few bilateral treaties signed by the Amazon States inter se and few institutions dealing with international watercourses. There is no river commission in charge of the Amazon basin as a whole, which is understandable in a way, given the magnitude of the basin, and also the inexistence of major disputes related to water use. The Amazon States are members of regional and sub-region organizations, which all deal with the issue of water resource management. Although these organizations have their own policies and activities related to water resources, and despite some attempts to regulate certain water uses, for example under the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO), there is no regional treaty on the management of the Amazon basin. Several reasons exist for the few treaties and water institutions related to the management of the Amazon when compared to other river basins in the region such as the La Plata River basin. Brazil has the lion’s share of the Amazon (63 per cent)and is less likely to seek cooperation with other basin countries. The Amazon also lies in the least developed areas within the Amazon countries’ respective territories.

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