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The UN Watercourses Convention: Regional and Basin Perspectives

by on Oct 05, 2011

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The UN Watercourses Convention: Regional and Basin Perspectives, by Dr. Alistair Rieu-Clarke, IHP-HELP Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science under the auspices of UNESCO, University of Dundee, ...

The UN Watercourses Convention: Regional and Basin Perspectives, by Dr. Alistair Rieu-Clarke, IHP-HELP Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science under the auspices of UNESCO, University of Dundee, Scotland.

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The UN Watercourses Convention: Regional and Basin Perspectives The UN Watercourses Convention: Regional and Basin Perspectives Presentation Transcript

  • East, West and Southern Africa
  • No basin-wide agreement
    • East Africa
    • Nile
    • Southern Africa
    • Buzi
    • Pangani
    • Save
    • Umbeluzi
    • Zambezi
  • Not all basin states party to an agreement
    • East Africa
    • Nile Cooperative Framework Agreement – not yet in force
    • Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda have signed, will Egypt, Sudan, South Sudan?
    • Southern Africa
    • Zambezi Agreement – not yet in force
    • Botswana, Tanzania, Mozambique, Namibia and Angola have ratified, will Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe?
  • An agreement only partially covers matters addressed by the rule
    • East Africa
    • Nile Cooperative Framework Agreement (NCFA)
    • Scope: more specific Nile River Basin & System
    • Substantive: both support ERU (water security?)
    • Procedural: more explicit reference to EIAs; less detailed on notification
    • Dispute settlement: similar approach
    • West Africa
    • 1987 Revised Convention Pertaining to the Creation of the Niger Basin Authority
    • Substantive: no reference to ERU or no significant harm
    • Procedural: lacks detailed procedures
    • Dispute settlement: no third party fact-finding
    • West Africa ctd
    • 1972 Statute and 2002 Water Charter of the Senegal River
    • Scope: connected aquifers not included in definition of river
    • Substantive: no reference to ERU or no significant harm
    • Procedural: lacks detailed procedures
    • Dispute settlement: no 3rd party fact-finding
    • 1978 Convention and the Gambia River
    • Scope: connected groundwater not included
    • Substantive: lacks detail
    • Procedural: lacks detail on notification process
    • Dispute settlement: no 3rd party fact-finding
    • 1964 Convention and Statutes relating to the Development of the Chad Basin
    • Substantive: no detailed provisions
    • Procedural: lacks detail on notification process
    • 2007 Convention on the Statute of the Volta River
    • Substantive: lacks detail
    • Procedural: lacks detail on notification
    • Dispute settlement: no 3rd party fact-finding
    • Protocol on the Management of the Kolib-Korubal Agreement
    • Lacks details norms on scope, substantive, procedural and dispute settlement mechanisms
    • Southern Africa
    • Revised SADC Protocol
    • Lacks clarity on the relationship between equitable reasonable utilisation and no harm
    • No specific of ‘vital human needs’ in SADC protocol
  • Aral Sea and SE Asia
  • No basin-wide agreement
    • SE Asia
    • Red/ Hong/ Yuan Jiang (China, Laos and Vietnam
    • Irrawaddy or Dulong (China, Myanmar and India)
    • Salween or Nu (China, Myanmar and Thailand)
    • Saigon (Cambodia and Vietnam)
    • Song Vam Co Dong (Cambodia and Vietnam)
    • Pakchan (Thailand and Myanmar)
    • BeiJianh or His (China and Vietnam)
    • Ma (Laos and Vietnam)
    • Ca or Song Koi (Laos and Vietnam)
    • Golok (Thailand and Malysia)
    Aral Sea
    SE Asia
  • An agreement only partially covers matters addressed by the UNWC
    • Aral Sea
    • Scope: Do not encompass ‘ecosystem’ concept
    • Substantive: no explicit provisions on ERU; UNWC more clarity as to relationship between ERU and no significant harm; strengthen obligation to protect aquatic ecosystems
    • Procedural: UNWC more detailed/ stringent procedures (notification, consultation, exchange of info)
    • Dispute settlement: UNWC provides more detail
    • Mekong Agreement
    • Substantive: UNWC provides more detail on ERU factors (Art.6).
    • Procedural: Notification no detailed binding commitments
    • Dispute settlement: submission to ICJ or arbitration not directly provided for in MA.
  • Europe
  • No basin-wide agreement
    • 1992 UN ECE Helsinki Convention
    • Obligation to establish joint arrangements
    • 2000 EC Water Framework Directive
    • Requirement to establish river basin districts
    An agreement only partially covers matters addressed by the UNWC
    • Both 1992 UN ECE Helsinki Convention and 2000 EC Water Framework Directive provide stricter requirements than the UNWC
  • Perspectives on the role and relevance of the 97 UNWC
  • Perspectives on the UNWC
    Need to address international watercourses at a global level
    ‘may seem small but is no less symbolic, for global water governance’ French government upon accession, 2010
    Burkino Faso, Portugal, Germany, Spain, Greece, etc.
    Awareness of the UNWC is lacking
    ‘Deeper awareness … about the convention’s content or its applicability to the region’s international watercourses is remarkably low’ West Africa Regional Assessment, 2008
    Must examine implications of UNWC rules and develop shared understanding amongst key stakeholders (governmental and non-governmental) at the basin level
    ‘All respondents agreed that the key stakeholders need to know more about relevance of the 1997 UNWC. The United Nations Secretariat as depositor of the Convention and other promoter organizations and individuals need to strengthen their campaign to raise awareness among all relevant stakeholders and use their UN system and networks to encourage member countries to ratify or accede to this 1997 UNWC’ SE Regional Assessment, 2011.
  • Authors
  • Dr Alistair Rieu-Clarke (a.rieuclarke@dundee.ac.uk)
    MsFlaviaLoures
    (flavia.loures@wwfus.org)
    www.dundee.ac.uk/water/projects/unwcglobalinitiative/
    wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/how_we_work/policy/conventions/water_conventions/un_watercourses_convention
    http://internationalwaterlaw.org/bibliography/ “Watercourses Convention”
  • THANK YOU!