Transboundary Environmental Governance in Asia
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Transboundary Environmental Governance in Asia

Practice and Prospects with the UNECE Agreements

Simon Marsden and Elizabeth Brandon

A comprehensive overview of treaty implementation and compliance concerning transboundary environmental governance in Asia is provided in this timely book. Recent United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) membership by Asian states in the Caucasus and Central Asia has shifted focus on environmental governance away from its Euro-centric roots and placed Asia at the forefront of discussion. The focus of this book is centred on the five UNECE treaties: Public Participation, Environmental Impact Assessment, Industrial Accidents, Water and Air Pollution. Twelve related protocols are discussed including Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers, Strategic Environmental Assessment, Civil Liability, Water and Health, and Air Pollutants.
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Chapter 6: The Water Convention and Water and Health Protocol

Simon Marsden and Elizabeth Brandon


The Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and Lakes (Water Convention) came into force on 6 October 1996, after adoption in Helsinki on 17 March 1992 with 30 signatories then, or soon after. There are currently 39 Parties including the EU. Since 2013 it has been a global treaty, and, outside the UNECE region is hence potentially applicable to other Asian states, subject to further ratifications by existing Parties. This is particularly relevant given the large number of transboundary watercourses in the region and the need to regulate matters of environmental protection, and ensure equitable and reasonable use. Despite this, academic interest to date has focused on the 1997 UN Convention on International Watercourses (International Water Convention), which recently entered into force and is discussed in a final section of this chapter. Parties to the Water Convention include one western Asian state (Azerbaijan), three central Asian states (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) and Russia. It is expected that other states will join shortly. Iran for example has recently expressed an interest in joining the Convention, as has Iraq. The Convention has two protocols, the Water and Health Protocol, and the Civil Liability Protocol, the latter of which is shared with the Industrial Accidents Convention. The Water and Health Protocol has 36 signatories and 26 Parties, including Azerbaijan and Russia (Parties) and Armenia and Georgia (signatories).

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