Copyright (c) 1997 Colorado Journal of Int'l Envt'l Law and Policy
Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law and Policy
WATER: II. 1997 United Nations Convention on the Law of
Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses 1
1997 COLO. J. INT'L ENVTL. L. Y.B. 178
By Jordan C. Kahn
As the global population increases, so too will the demand for water. Consequently, the pressure to divert water from watercourses shared by two or more countries will also increase. In an effort to reduce the potential for conflict, the international community has attempted to set norms for the nonnavigational usage of international watercourses. Major steps were made in 1991 when the International Law Commission (ILC) produced Draft Articles on the Law of Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses. 2 Building on the work of the ILC, 3 the UN Convention on the Law of Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses was adopted by the General Assembly (GA) on May 21, 1997. 4 This adoption opened the Convention to signature for three years. 5 The GA did not unanimously adopt the Convention: while only three states (Burundi, China, and Turkey) voted against adoption of the Convention, twenty-seven abstained and thirty-three were absent. 6
A. Structure and Provisions of the Convention
The Preamble to the UN Convention on the Law of Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses (Convention) contains several notable statements. It explains that the Convention is pursuant to the UN Charter's mandate that the GA "initiate studies and make recommendations for the purpose of encouraging the progressive development of international law and its codification." 7 The Preamble explains that the Convention takes "into account the problems affecting many international watercourses resulting from, among other things, increasing demands and pollution." 8 The Preamble also acknowledges the "special needs ...
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