Convention on the law of the non-navigational uses of international watercourses


The Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses, often referred to as the Watercourses Convention, is a treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1997. The convention aims to provide a comprehensive legal framework for the management and utilization of shared water resources, specifically non-navigational uses, such as for agriculture, industry, and domestic purposes.Here are some key features and provisions of the convention:1. Scope: The Watercourses Convention applies to all international watercourses, which include rivers, lakes, and groundwater systems that are shared by two or more countries.2. Principles: The convention is based on a set of fundamental principles, including equitable and reasonable utilization, obligation not to cause significant harm, and the principle of prior notification and consultation between states.3. Cooperation: It emphasizes the importance of cooperation among states sharing watercourses, encouraging them to establish joint mechanisms, exchange information, and engage in joint projects for the sustainable management of water resources.4. Notification and Consultation: The convention establishes a framework for states to notify and consult each other about planned measures that may have a significant impact on the watercourse. This provision aims to promote transparency and prevent harm to downstream states.5. Environmental Protection: The convention recognizes the importance of protecting the ecosystem of the watercourse and requires states to prevent, control, and reduce pollution, as well as protect and preserve habitats and aquatic ecosystems.6. Dispute Settlement: The convention provides for the settlement of disputes between states through negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. It also encourages states to seek assistance from relevant international organizations or establish joint mechanisms for dispute resolution.It’s important to note that although the Watercourses Convention was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, it has not yet entered into force. As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, the convention had been signed by 37 countries and ratified by 38. However, it requires 35 ratifications to enter into force, so it may have reached that threshold since then. You can check the current status of the convention with the United Nations or the International Law Commission.

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