The UN Watercourses Convention finally entered into force, on August 17, 2014, that is almost 20 years after its adoption by the UN General Assembly. Reaching 35 state parties were required by its status for entry into force. The founding principles of this Convention require that states participate and utilize the international watercourse they “share” in an equitable and sustainable manner, and prevent all significant damage. It establishes rules for cooperation between states and conflict resolution mechanisms in case a contentious situation should never-the-less arise.
The entry into force of the UN Watercourses Convention takes place at a time when another Convention dealing with transboundary lakes and watercourses: the UNECE Water Convention, is about to open itself to countries outside of the UNECE region (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe), while it was formerly regional.
These two developments are very positive in Green Cross’s opinion (Green Cross has been promoting accession to the UN Watercourses Convention for a decade). Those developments reflect a real evolution of the perception of the perception of governments on the importance of managing transboundary waters in a jointly and cooperative manner. While 60% of all freshwater flows through those hydrographic basins, only 40% benefit from some sort of cooperative agreement. The stakes are therefore extremely important when one considers that we are facing what is more and more commonly called a “Global water crisis”, that is a rising demand all over the world, and more and more exploitation and pollution of the water sheds.
The seminar Green Cross organises on Sunday at World Water Week with several partners will highlight how the two conventions will support states and administrations in their cooperation and water resources management efforts, and celebrate the entry into force of the UN Watercourses Convention!