The UN Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses (UN Watercourses Convention) will enter into force in August as Viet Nam became the 35th country to accede to the Convention, in accordance with Article 36 of the Convention which states entry into force will occur on the 90th day following the deposit for the 35th ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.
19 May 2014: The UN Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses (UN Watercourses Convention) will enter into force in August 2014. Viet Nam became the 35th country to accede to the Convention, in accordance with Article 36 of the Convention, which states that entry into force will occur on the 90th day following the deposit for the 35th ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.
The UN Watercourses Convention was adopted (A/RES/51/229) and opened for signature during the 51st session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on 21 May 1997. An effort was launched by the WWF and the Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science, a UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Water Centre, among others, in 2007 to promote accession to the UN Watercourses Convention as the number of ratifications necessary for entry into force was languishing below the half way mark ten years after its adoption.
The Convention, which was developed by the International Law Commission (ILC), represents the codification and progressive development of customary international water law. The Convention applies to non-navigational use of international watercourses and measures to protect, preserve and manage those waters.
The Convention embodies a number of principles on: equitable and reasonable utilization, including definition of factors relevant to equitable and reasonable utilization; the obligation not to cause significant harm; the general obligation to cooperate; regular exchange of data and information; the relationship between types of uses; notification and response, relating to planned measures; protection and preservation of ecosystems; prevent, reduce and control pollution; introduction of alien or new species; protection and preservation of the marine environment; and international watercourses and installations during time of armed conflict. The Convention contains an innovative dispute resolution mechanism, which includes possible use of an impartial fact-finding commission in the event negotiations are unable to resolve the conflict.
Current signatories include: Benin; Burkina Faso; Chad; Côte d’Ivoire; Denmark; Finland; France; Germany; Great Britain; Greece; Guinea-Bissau; Hungary; Iraq; Ireland; Italy; Jordan; Lebanon; Libya; Luxembourg; Montenegro; Morocco; Namibia; Netherlands; Niger; Nigeria; Norway; Paraguay; Portugal; Qatar; South Africa; Spain; Sweden; Syria; Tunisia; Uzbekistan; Venezuela; Viet Nam; and Yemen. [UN Treaty Collection: Status of the UN Watercourses Convention] [UN Watercourses Convention] [WWF Press Release] [IISD RS Sources]