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s.1 Nature and Aims of the UN Watercourses Convention, Ch.3 Definitions and Use of Terms (Article 2)

Alistair Rieu-Clarke

From: The UN Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses: A Commentary

Edited By: Laurence Boisson de Chazournes, Makane Moïse Mbengue, Mara Tignino, Komlan Sangbana, Jason Rudall

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 05 June 2023

Canals — Lakes — Rivers — Sovereignty — Law of treaties — Boundaries

This chapter focuses on Article 2, which defines several key terms that are used repeatedly throughout the UN Watercourses Convention. The terms examined are ‘watercourse’, ‘international watercourse’, ‘watercourse State’, and ‘regional economic integration organization’, with particular emphasis on the concept of a ‘watercourse’. The chapter first reviews the work of the International Law Commission (ILC) and the UN General Assembly leading up to the adoption of the UN Watercourses Convention before analysing the extent to which the approach adopted in the Convention reflects basin-specific and bilateral treaty practice, the relationship between Article 2 and other provisions of the Convention, and some key aspects of Article 2. It also explores two key issues surrounding the term ‘international watercourse’: the variation in the terms used to describe watercourses that cross sovereign borders, that is, shared, transboundary, and international; and the legal developments pertaining to transboundary groundwater.

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