Transboundary rivers, lakes, and aquifers play a vital role in supporting the livelihoods of billions of people worldwide. Roughly 60% of global freshwater flow is in shared basins. About 40% of the world’s population lives in shared basins. The development of operational arrangements on shared waters serves as a fundamental instrument to prevent conflicts and ensure effective, equitable and sustainable use and management of water resources. Operational arrangements enhance cooperation, promote peace, prevent conflicts, and protect ecosystems. Cooperation in the management of shared water resources is also key to reducing water-related risks – such as floods and droughts, and to increasing resilience to climate change.
The adoption of agreements or other arrangements is one of the main obligations under the 1992 Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention). To promote the development of agreement or other arrangements, the publication entitled “Practical Guide for the Development of Agreements or Other Arrangements for Transboundary Water Cooperation” (Practical Guide) was developed by a drafting group and adopted during the ninth session of the Meeting of the Parties to the 1992 Water Convention. The Practical Guide aims to support countries and other stakeholders in the design and drafting or review of agreements or other arrangements for transboundary waters, including both surface waters and groundwaters.
The Global Workshop will present how the Practical Guide and other relevant materials and tools developed by partners can help in drafting new or improving existing transboundary water agreements. The workshop endeavours to empower states, basin organizations and other relevant stakeholders to develop effective cooperation frameworks and ensure the equitable and sustainable management of shared water resources.
The key objective of the workshop is to support states, basin organizations, international and regional organizations in discussing and developing, through a step-by-step approach, agreements and other arrangements on transboundary rivers, lakes and aquifers. The workshop will provide practical and interactive opportunities for countries and other international and regional actors to learn how to develop sustainable, adaptable and effective transboundary water agreements or to revise existing ones on the basis of case studies from all over the world. Specific attention will be paid to legal and institutional tools and techniques to prevent or mitigate conflict risks and foster cooperation. By sharing insights and experiences, the workshop aims to foster a deeper understanding of how to develop and revise agreements or other arrangements that not only enhance transboundary water cooperation but also mitigate potential conflicts and may contribute to supporting peace in fragile contexts.
More specific objectives are to:
- To provide practical guidance and support for negotiating agreements or other arrangement, including in complex environments through a systematic, step-by-step process, also in cases where cooperation is complicated;
- To share knowledge, experiences, and lessons learned on proven strategies for crafting effective transboundary water agreements or other arrangements that yield mutual benefits for countries and basins;
- To create a conducive environment for acquiring valuable insights into conflict prevention and the promotion of harmonious practices in water management, enhancing the prospects of peaceful cooperation;
- To provide a platform for networking, establishment of valuable partnerships, and strengthening collaborative efforts to develop agreements or other arrangements;
- To contribute to the broader understanding of the pivotal role of legal and institutional frameworks in achieving sustainable development, conflict prevention and regional stability, and environmental protection.
The workshop is targeted at government representatives, legal and technical experts, and decision-makers directly engaged in the processes of negotiation and establishment of new agreements, revision of existing agreements or other arrangements for transboundary waters.
Targeted participants will also include representatives of joint bodies’ secretariats, Parties of existing joint bodies/Conventions, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations promoting transboundary water cooperation, experts, and academia.
The workshop aims to assist basins which have recently embarked on the development of agreements or are committed to start such process in the near future.
The workshop will be organized under the leadership of the Governments of Hungary and Germany, with the support of the secretariat of the Water Convention. Funding for the workshop is provided by Germany, Hungary, GEF IW-LEARN.
The following organizations are partners in organizing this workshop: GEF IW-LEARN, Geneva Water Hub/University of Geneva, Global Water Partnership (GWP), International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO); International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Northumbria University, World Bank (WB) and others.