A European Perspective
Edited by Alberta Fabbricotti
Chapter 15: Political Economy and International Water Law: Political Economy Induced Changes to the Uptake of Benefit Sharing in International Water Law
Expanding IPE analysis of benefit sharing arrangements to the area of international water law, this Chapter explains the determinants of international water law creation (law as explanandum) and traces the increasing influence of local and national political processes on the evolution of the international principles and norms of water law. Benefit sharing is the outcome of a process of realization that in a complex and interdependent world (i) there are fewer benefits that can be achieved by unilateral action than through cooperation; and (ii) that formulas to share the benefits of cooperative behavior need to be agreed upon to achieve equity that will spur continued cooperation. In international water law, the idea of benefit sharing is closely linked to the principle of equitable and reasonable utilization. Tracing the uptake of benefit sharing in treaty practice, the Chapter shows that the principle of equitable and reasonable use has evolved over time due to changes in the political economy, including in-country priorities concerning the use and management of transboundary water resources. Utilization for the economic means and ends of States has been complemented by management principles that increasingly take the interests of local stakeholders and individuals, as well as the environment, into account. This is the result of an increasingly deterministic role played by national actors in shaping the content of international water law.
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