Sharing water across boundaries

08 April 2009 | News story

Approximately 260 international river basins cover nearly half of the earth’s surface, provide an estimated 60 percent of the world’s freshwater, and are home to 40 percent of the world’s population. Leading up to World Water Day on 22 March, at the 5th World Water Forum in Istanbul, IUCN presented one of its latest publications, “Share: Managing Water Across Boundaries”, which focuses on transboundary cooperation of shared water resources.

Case study presenters included the Comisión Trinacional del Plan Trifinio, the Mekong Dialogue and the Organization of American States (OAS), with a specific intervention from Ms. Flavia Loures from World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) on the 1997 UN Convention on the Law of the Non Navigational Uses of International Watercourses. The event ended with analysis and debate of SHARE’s key messages in the context of the presented case studies, undertaken by representatives from the Australian Government and the Asian Development Bank.

The main message was well summarized by Mark Smith, Head of IUCN’s Water Programme: “The problem with shared rivers is that if nations don’t cooperate they can all end up trying to use the same water more than once. When they do, the environment loses out on the water it needs, and development fails while tensions rise. Cooperation on rivers means the reverse; the benefits of a healthy environment and development can be shared, while promoting peace.”

SHARE is available for download and can be requested as a hardcopy either from the ELC or from the Water Programme and is expected to become a reference for reform on water management around the world, together with the other two latest publications of the WANI series, RULE and NEGOTIATE.