The Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses, also known as the Watercourses Convention, is an international treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1997. It aims to provide a legal framework for the management and utilization of international watercourses, including rivers, lakes, and groundwater systems that cross or form boundaries between different countries.
Key provisions of the Watercourses Convention include:
- Principles of equitable and reasonable utilization: States are required to use shared watercourses in an equitable and reasonable manner, taking into account factors such as geographic, hydrological, climatic, and economic conditions.
- Obligation not to cause significant harm: States are obligated not to cause significant harm to other watercourse states with their water use activities. This principle emphasizes the need for cooperation and the prevention of adverse impacts on downstream countries.
- Notification and consultation: States are encouraged to notify and consult each other regarding planned measures that may have a significant adverse impact on other watercourse states. This provision promotes information exchange and dialogue to facilitate cooperative decision-making.
- Prior notification in emergencies: In case of an emergency situation that may cause significant harm to other states, the Watercourses Convention requires the notifying state to provide immediate notification to potentially affected states.
- Protection and preservation of ecosystems: States are encouraged to protect and preserve ecosystems within international watercourses. This includes the prevention of pollution, conservation of biodiversity, and sustainable management of water resources.
- Exchange of data and information: States are encouraged to exchange data and information regarding the condition and use of international watercourses. This provision promotes transparency and cooperation in the management of shared water resources.
It is important to note that although the Watercourses Convention has been adopted by the UN General Assembly, it has not entered into force as of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021. For a treaty to enter into force, it typically requires a certain number of ratifications or accessions by member states. The status of the convention may have changed since then, so it is advisable to consult the latest updates from the United Nations or relevant international organizations for the most current information.