Universal and regional approaches to resolving international water disputes: what lessons learned from state practice?

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

This paper examines universal and regional approaches to resolving international disputes over shared freshwater resources, primarily through an analysis of selected case studies. It reviews the relevant multilateral and basin-wide legal regimes with a view to identifying regional trends. The exercise reveals that countries in different regions of the world have developed distinctive schemes to resolve their disputes over water. Generally, watercourse states in Africa and Europe appear to prefer to use negotiations and joint bodies as the means to settle conflicts but are willing also to accept third-party involvement, including arbitration and adjudication. On the other hand, in North America and, in particular, Asia, joint institutions and technical bodies play the most dominant role, with practically no recourse by states to compulsory third-party settlement.

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