International Cooperation on Water Resources

  • Maria Manuela Farrajota

In international law, cooperation is a general and fundamental principle designed to facilitate the fulfilment of more specific obligations. The purposes and concrete applications of cooperation have been identified in several instruments in the context of the law of international water resources. This chapter identifies the different forms and levels of cooperation concerning water resources: from the minimum form of direct exchange of fundamental data and information to the establishment of joint development commissions or other institutional mechanisms for the integrated management of a river basin. It shows that the obligations to undertake specific cooperative actions in international law vary significantly. Furthermore, the important role played by international institutional arrangements and by international organizations in promoting cooperation on water resources is analysed. This chapter aims to understand the various modalities of cooperation and to concretise this all embracing, abstract concept.


International cooperation international organizations international water resources joint commissions negotiation 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Axelrod, R. M. (1990). The evolution of cooperation. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  2. Beach, H. L., Hamner, J., Hewitt, J. J., Kaufman, E., Kurki, A., Oppenheimer, J. A., & Wolf, A. T. (2000). Transboundary freshwater dispute resolution: Theory, practice, and annotated references. Tokyo: United Nations University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Benvenisti, E. (1996). Collective action in the utilization of shared freshwater: The challenges of international water resources law. American Journal of International Law 90, 384–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Benvenisti, E. (2002). Sharing transboundary resources: International law and optimal resource use. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Dellapenna, J. W. (1994). Treaties as instruments for managing internationally shared water resources: Restricted sovereignty vs. community of property. Case Western Reserve Journal of International & Comparative Law, 26, 27–56.Google Scholar
  6. Dellapenna, J. W. (2003). The customary international law of transboundary fresh waters. In M. Fitzmaurice & M. Szuniewicz (Eds.), Exploitation of natural resources in the 21st century (pp. 143–190). The Hague: Kluwer Law International.Google Scholar
  7. Farrajota, M. M. (2005). Notification and consultation in the law applicable to international watercourses. In L. Boisson de Chazournes & S. M. A. Salman (Eds.), Water resources and international law (pp. 281–339). Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff.Google Scholar
  8. Higgins, R. (1994). Problems and process: International law and how we use it. Oxford: Clarendon/Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Institut de droit international. (1911). Madrid resolution on international regulations regarding the use of international watercourses. Annuaire de l'Institut de droit international, 24, 347–364.Google Scholar
  10. Institut de droit international. (1979). Athens resolution on the pollution of rivers and lakes and international law. Annuaire de l'Institut de droit international Part II, 58, 196–203.Google Scholar
  11. International Law Association. (2004). Berlin rules on water resources. In International Law Association, Report of the seventy-first conference, Berlin (pp. 337–411). London: International Law Association.Google Scholar
  12. Kirgis, F. L. (1983). Prior consultation in international law: A study of state practice. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia.Google Scholar
  13. Lipper, J. (1967). Equitable utilization. In A. H. Garretson, R. D. Hayton, & C. J. Olmstead (Eds.), The law of international drainage basins (pp. 18–88). Dobbs Ferry, NY: Oceana.Google Scholar
  14. Nakayama, M. (1997). Successes and failures of international organizations in dealing with international waters. International Journal of Water Resources Development, 13, 367–382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Perrez, F. X. (2000). Cooperative sovereignty: From independence to interdependence in the structure of international environmental law. The Hague: Kluwer Law International.Google Scholar
  16. Pinto, M. C. W. (1986). The duty of co-operation and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. In A. Bos & H. Siblesz (Eds.), Realism in law-making: Essays on international law in honour of Willem Riphagen (pp. 131–154). Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff.Google Scholar
  17. Salman, S. M. A. (2003a). Good offices and mediation and international water disputes. In The International Bureau of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (Eds.,) Resolution of International Water Disputes (pp. 155–199). The Hague: Kluwer Law International.Google Scholar
  18. Salman, S. M. A. (2003b). From Marrakech through The Hague to Kyoto: Has the global debate on water reached a dead end? Part one. Water International, 28, 491–500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Salman, S. M. A. (2004). From Marrakech through The Hague to Kyoto: Has the global debate on water reached a dead end? Part two. Water International, 29, 11–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Salman, S. M. A., & Uprety, K. (2002). Conflict and cooperation on South Asia's international rivers: A legal perspective. The Hague: Kluwer Law International.Google Scholar
  21. Salman, S. M. A., & Bradlow, D. D. (2006). Regulatory frameworks for water resources management: A comparative study. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  22. Sohnle, J. (2002). Le droit international des ressources en eau douce: Solidarité contre souveraineté. Paris: La documentation française.Google Scholar
  23. Tanzi, A., & Arcari, M. (2001). The United Nations Convention on the law of international watercourses. The Hague: Kluwer Law International.Google Scholar
  24. United Nations. (1975). Management of international water resources: Institutional and legal aspects: Report of the panel of experts on the legal and institutional aspects of international water resources development. UN Doc ST/ESA/5. New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
  25. United Nations. (1978). Draft principles of conduct for the guidance of states in the conservation and harmonious exploitation of natural resources shared by two or more states, United Nations Environment Programme Governing Council, XII Plenary Meeting, UNEP/GC/101 and Corr.1.Google Scholar
  26. United Nations. (1983). Experiences in the development and management of international river and lake basins: Proceedings of the United Nations interregional meeting of international river organizations, Dakar, Senegal, 5–14 May 1981. UN Doc. ST/ESA/120. New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
  27. United Nations. (2003). The UN world water development report: Water for people—water for life. Paris: UNESCO/Berghahn.Google Scholar
  28. Wolf, A. T. (1998). Conflict and cooperation along international waterways. Water Policy, 1, 251–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar


  1. Gabcíkovo-Nagymaros Project Case (Hungary v. Slovakia) (1997) ICJ No. 92.Google Scholar
  2. Lake Lanoux Arbitration (France v. Spain) (1957). International Law Reports, 24, 101–142 (1961).Google Scholar

Other Government Materials

  1. Aarhus Convention (1998). Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters.Google Scholar
  2. Agenda 21 (1992).Google Scholar
  3. Danube River Convention (1994). Convention on Co-operation for the Protection and Sustainable Use of the Danube River.Google Scholar
  4. Espoo Convention (1991). Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context.Google Scholar
  5. Ganges Water Treaty (1996). Treaty Between India and Bangladesh on Sharing of the Ganges Waters at Farakka.Google Scholar
  6. Helsinki Convention (1992). Convention on the Protection and Uses of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes.Google Scholar
  7. Incomati Agreement (2002). Incomati Tripartite Interim Agreement Between Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland for Co-operation on the Protection and Sustainable Utilization of the Water Resources of the Incomati and Maputo Watercourses.Google Scholar
  8. Indus Waters Treaty (1960). India—Pakistan.Google Scholar
  9. Luso-Spanish Agreement (1998). Agreement Between Portugal and Spain on Co-operation for the Protection and Sustainable Use of the Waters of the Portuguese—Spanish Hydrographic Basins.Google Scholar
  10. Mahakali Treaty (1996). Treaty Between Nepal and India concerning the Integrated Development of the Mahakali River.Google Scholar
  11. Mekong River Basin Agreement (1995). Agreement on the Cooperation for the Sustainable Development of the Mekong River Basin.Google Scholar
  12. Revised African Convention (2003). Revised African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.Google Scholar
  13. Revised SADC Protocol (2000). Revised Protocol on Shared Watercourse Systems of the South African Development Community.Google Scholar
  14. Rhine Agreement (1976). Agreement for the Protection of the Rhine Against Chemical Pollution.Google Scholar
  15. United Nations (1945). Charter of the United Nations.Google Scholar
  16. United Nations (1970). GA Resolution 2625 (XXV), The Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation Among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.Google Scholar
  17. United Nations (1977). Mar del Plata Action Plan, UN Doc. E/CONF.70/29.Google Scholar
  18. United Nations (1992). Rio Declaration on Environment and Development.Google Scholar
  19. UN Watercourses Convention (1997). Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses. UN Doc. No. A/51/869.Google Scholar
  20. United Nations (2000). GA Resolution 55/2, Millennium declaration.Google Scholar
  21. Zambezi Action Plan (1987). Action Plan for the Environmentally Sound Management of the Common Zambezi River System.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Manuela Farrajota

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations