Despite the complexity of water problems and the many interests at stake, records show that water disputes can be handled diplomatically. A growing number of treaties, protocols, conventions and institutional arrangements have been created on the use, development and protection of watercourses and related ecosystems. These frameworks and arrangements increasingly help crystallize mechanisms for the prevention and peaceful resolution of disputes over water resources.
A review of case studies where international law has been a part of resolving conflict has shown that successful achievement of cooperative solutions is facilitated by:
International diplomacy has played a key role in many cases around the world. Water Diplomacy efforts have been often directed to the establishment of a global framework for water governance which can facilitate the further development of multilateral and bilateral water treaties and agreements.
Currently, The UN Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses and the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (the Water Convention) form useful frameworks where general principles and prescriptive obligations are set out. The adoption of these conventions facilitates dispute resolution as it provides a common ground and focus from which mediation can occur. One of the objectives of water diplomacy will be to highlight to the importance of these conventions in enhancing cooperation and to encourage states to ratify the conventions.
Managing water effectively and sustainably requires that all the stakeholders of a common water resource cooperate in jointly managing, protecting, and developing it. National and regional bodies, such as water resource ministries and river basin organizations (RBOs) can manage upstream-downstream issues that may arise between groups of stakeholders. Bringing parties to the table, raising awareness of challenges to be faced, and changing attitudes will be necessary if new agreements are to be reached and accepted.
During the session several stakeholders will be asked to present or represent the perspectives of their group in a context of river basin cooperation. Each of them will, based on a specific case study, outline what his vision and interests are in that particular case. What were the main difficulties he/she and other stakeholders faced when establishing a transboundary or multisectoral dialogue? And how were joint solutions developed in the basin? Stakeholders from various backgrounds will include: researchers, local authorities, government, civil society.
Date: Tuesday, 8 January 2013
10:30-10:45 Presentation of the Session
10:45-11:15 Overview presentation on transboundary cooperation: Lessons learned from water cooperation in transboundary basins
14:30-15:15 Panel of cases: Finland-Russia cooperation
17:00–18:30 Workshop Water Game
Role play on the value of trust in negotiations
>> International Year and WWD 2013
>> UN initiatives on water cooperation
>> UN Water Convention
>> UN Watercourses Convention
>> Challenges for water cooperation
>> Addressing cooperation: tools and mechanisms
>> Mediation and dispute resolution mechanisms
>> Alternative Dispute Resolution Approaches
>> Cases on water cooperation
>> Conference daily
>> Conference flyer
>> Conference interviews
>> Conference poster
>> Information briefs
>> Presentations from participants
>> UN water cooperation reports
>> Video interviews with participants
>> Video recording of sessions
>> Water cooperation in the media
>> Web banners