Part IV Fundamental Rights and Obligations, A Substantive Obligations, 11 The Obligation to Protect International Watercourses and Their Ecosystems
Stephen C. McCaffrey
- Freshwater — Sustainable development — Natural resources — Lakes — Rivers — Pollution
This chapter looks at the obligation not to cause significant pollution to other states sharing freshwater resources, and of the emerging obligation to protect the ecosystems of international watercourses. While problems of water pollution have perhaps received more attention in the literature, it seems probable that the protection of watercourse ecosystems is of wider significance, in terms of geography, meeting basic human needs, and sustainable development. Sustainable development was endorsed at the 1992 Earth Summit as the proper approach to reconciling economic development with protection of the environment. It aims at ensuring that economic development will not exhaust the very resources on which it, and human welfare itself, depend. Clean water and healthy aquatic ecosystems are cornerstones of this effort. International law has now progressed to the point that it protects those values.