Keywords: climate change, international rivers, Mekong, Ganges, Jordan, Nile, Zambezi, shared rivers, international river agreements, international agreements, riparian countries, common water resources, runoff, water wars, conflict
Global climate change and challenges for international river agreements
Shared rivers are not only expected to cause conflict, but they can also contribute to build engagement and cooperation among the riparian states. Particularly in the last two decades, several competing riparian countries have formally agreed to share and, in some cases develop their common water resources. Many agreements have been drawn up in the South to share the international river basins. Noteworthy ones are: Zambezi, Mekong, Jordan, Ganges and Nile Rivers. However, these agreements are presently going through severe stress due to increasing demand and decreasing supply of water resources. Moreover, global climate change raises certain possibility of longterm changes to the volume and pattern of runoff in these shared river systems. This paper critically examines the suitability of existing agreements on major international river systems in the South to address the challenges posed by the global climate change.