Transboundary Freshwater Dispute Database | Publications

Giordano, Meredith A. and Aaron T. Wolf. 2003. Sharing waters: Post-Rio international water management. Natural Resources Forum 27: 163-171. [PDF file]

Transcending human-defined political and administrative boundaries, the world's transboundary freshwater resources pose particularly challenging management problems. Water resource users at all scales frequently find themselves in direct competition for this economic and life-sustaining resource, in turn creating tensions, and indeed conflict, over water supply, allocation, and quality. At the international scale, where the potential for conflict is of particular concern, significant efforts are underway to promote greater cooperation in the world's international river basins, with notable achievements in the past decade following the Dublin and Rio conferences. Over the past ten years, the international community has adopted conventions, declarations, and legal statements concerning the management of international waters , while basin communities have established numerous new basin institutions. Despite these developments, significant vulnerabilities remain. Many international basins still lack any type of joint management structure, and certain fundamental management components are noticeably absent from those that do. An understanding of these weaknesses, however, offers an opportunity for both the international and basin communities to better respond to the specific institution-building needs of basin communities and thereby foster broader cooperation over the world's international water resources.