Transregional Comparative Lessons in Pursuit of Sustainable Development
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Werner Scholtz and Jonathan Verschuuren
Chapter 8: Sustainable water resource management and the Amazon basin
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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