Research Handbook on International Water Law
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Research Handbook on International Water Law

Edited by Stephen C. McCaffrey, Christina Leb and Riley T. Denoon

The Research Handbook on International Water Law surveys the field of the law of shared freshwater resources. In some thirty chapters, it covers subjects ranging from the general principles operative in the field and international groundwater law to the human right to water and whether international water law is prepared to cope with climate disruption. The authors are internationally recognized experts in the field, most with years of experience. The Research Handbook is edited by three scholars and practitioners whose publications and work deal with the law of international watercourses.
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Chapter 6: Implementation of the general duty to cooperate

Christina Leb


Acknowledging that cooperation is one of the building blocks of international law and a key legal principle that forms the basis of specific obligations and rights that shape State behaviour, this chapter analyses the more defined characteristics this principle assumes as the general duty to cooperate in international water law. As a general principle of international water law the duty gives clear direction, aim and purpose for cooperative action and implementation of the other general principles, such as equitable and reasonable utilization and the obligation not to cause significant harm. The chapter then expands on the characteristics of joint management mechanisms that provide an institutional structure for coordinated management of transboundary basins and aquifers. The existence of joint bodies has been adopted as an indicator to monitor the ‘proportion of transboundary basin area with an operational arrangement for water cooperation’ to assess progress towards achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

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