Fight over Freshwater : The role of international law in transboundary watercourse governance

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Juridiska institutionen

Abstract: With a changing climate, population growth and pollution, the twenty-first cen-tury imposes new challenges in the field of water distribution. International wa-tercourses are especially vulnerable, since their transboundry nature makes the water a contested resource.  Although the traditional notion that watercourses are an integral part of the sovreignity of the state, more and more states has understood the importance of regulating the relationship between states that share the same watercourse, as to avoid dispute and coordinate benefits and responsibilities. The UN water-course convention was created in 1997 to fill this gap in state-on-state relations, and to stipulate equal and sustainable shared governance.  However, the inter-national community struggled in reaching a consensus over the resource alloca-tion mechanism, despite the ambitious attempts at reaching a compromise in the lead up to the convention. This has led to a general reluctance to embrace the convention, consequently creating a discrepancy in the regulatory frame-work of the different basins. The essay will discuss the role which the international legal system plays in regulating transboundry watercourse governance in terms of resource alloca-tion, cooperation, dispute settlement and environmental considerations.

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