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Schmeier, Susanne 2010. Governing International Watercourses – Perspectives from Different Disciplines. Hertie School of Governance – Working Papers, No. 53, August 2010 [PDF]

International watercourses, transcending the boundaries of nation states, are of great importance for the socioeconomic development of societies, but are, at the same time, prone to international collective action problems calling for cooperative international solutions. This paper reviews the existing literature on the governance of international watercourses. In a first part, the origins of hydropolitics, that is, the study of conflict and cooperation in international watercourses, are introduced. The following sections then focus on the emergence as well as on the effectiveness of institutionalized mechanisms that have been established for the governance of international watercourses. In addition, an outlook on emerging and future fields of study is provided in the last chapter of the paper. It is argued that only an integrated theoretical approach that goes beyond disciplinary divides and the sole focus on case studies can provide adequate theoretical means and thus policy concepts and strategies to cope with persistent collective action problems in international river and lake basins.