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Laws of Transboundary Water Governance

  • Gábor BaranyaiEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Water Governance - Concepts, Methods, and Practice book series (WGCMP)

Abstract

Today’s international water law is based on two global conventions—the UN Watercourses Convention and the UNECE Water Convention—and a range of regional, basin and bilateral water treaties. The two global conventions lay down a set of basic principles, substantive and procedural rules for transboundary water cooperation that provide an elementary framework for managing co-riparian relations. Real life cross-border water management, however, takes place mainly under the 250 or so regional, basin and bilateral treaties. These treaties cover the most significant international river basins of the world, accounting for 70% of all transboundary catchment areas. The trend of the past 50 years shows that about 30 new treaties are signed every decade. Regional, basin-level and bilateral treaties have evolved in terms purpose and focus too. Water allocation issues—the cornerstone of early water management agreements—no longer dominate contemporary treaty-making. Water quality and environmental considerations are now the most common focus area of water agreements. Procedural rules and mechanism, including conflict resolution, have also expanded at the expense of purely regulatory provisions, indicating a shift towards cooperative water management. Yet, despite these significant developments contemporary international water law is frequently criticised as underdeveloped, inconsistent and outdated.

Keywords

International water law Water treaties Principles of transboundary water cooperation 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Water ScienceUniversity of Public ServiceBudapestHungary

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