The chapter deals with the diplomatic and legal means available to address transboundary water disputes. The contribution provides a brief comparative overview of the dispute settlement provisions of the 1992 UNECE Water Convention and of the 1997 UN Watercourses Convention. It is emphasized how, under the former instrument, the general obligation to cooperate is to be implemented through joint bodies, whose effectiveness is buttressed by the institutional setting of the MoP and its subsidiary organs. Within this context, the study addresses the implementation review mechanism which has been recently established under the same Convention, highlighting its potentials for the purposes of dispute prevention and settlement. The contribution concludes stressing the constructive interactions between negotiation and adjudication having special regard to the significant ‘distributive justice’ component of international water law.
This chapter analyses the similarities between the 1992 UNECE Water Convention and the 1997 UN Watercourses Convention. By referring to the principle of harmonization and the general aim of systemic coherence of international law, the contribution argues the complementarity between the two normative instruments. It tackles both the substantive water law principles, namely the no harm rule and the equitable and reasonable utilization principle, and the procedural principle of cooperation as a catalyst giving effect to the substantive rules and principles in point. To that end, institutional cooperation and exchange of data and information are given special emphasis. The contribution addresses the substantive and procedural legal principles in point in relation to dispute prevention and settlement, also in light of recent case law. It concludes showing that a harmonized, constructive and mutually reinforcing interpretation of the two treaty regimes fully conforms to the rationale of both conventions.