Project “Regional dialogue and cooperation on water resources management”: Central Asia

Seminar on “International water laws and negotiation of mutually beneficial multilateral water agreements in Central Asia”, Almaty, Kazakhstan, 19-21 April 2009

The seminar was organized by the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy in Central Asia (UNRCCA) in close cooperation with UNECE in the framework of the Project "Regional Dialogue and Cooperation on Transboundary Water Resources". The seminar attracted high-level participants from all five Central Asian countries, Afghanistan and several regional organizations.

Presentations on international water law provided participants with the understanding of the international legal framework and major principles of international treaty and customary law governing the management of transboundary waters. Particular attention was given to the place and role of the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) in the international legal framework. Four experts of the Legal Board and the Secretary of the UNECE Water Convention explained the main provisions of this Convention and how it can effectively contribute to the solution of water-related disputes and negotiation of effective bilateral and regional agreements on water resources management. The Secretary of the UNECE Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context explained the relevance of this international legal instrument to minimize transboundary environmental impact and to preempt possible conflicts between countries.

Presentations were also made on the development and negotiations of mutually beneficial solutions on water with specific examples of successful cases. Participants engaged in a series of interactive exercises facilitated by experts on international mediation, including an exercise modeled on concrete challenges in the area of water resources management in Central Asia.

The seminar highlighted the availability of a strong legal basis for the regulation of water-related disputes and the need for cooperation in the solution of these problems. Participants expressed strong interest in the continuation, both at the regional and national levels, of capacity building activities on international water law.


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Excerpt from the Draft Guide to Implementing the Water Convention (LB/2009/1 - as of 31 March 2009)



The UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes. A unique framework for improved management of shared waters. By Francesca Bernardini, Secretary, UNECE


Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo, 1991). By Wiek Schrage, Secretary to the EIA Convention PDF  
Institutional cooperation of Parties to UNECE Water Convention: agreements and joint bodies. By Iulia Trombitcaia (Eco-accord), Legal Board of the Water Convention   PDF
Legal Framework for Transboundary Watercourses: Sources, Instruments and Basic Principles. By Sergei Vinogradov (UNESCO Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science), Legal Board of the Water Convention   PDF

For more information please contact:

Ms. Francesca BERNARDINI, Secretary of the Water Convention
Environment Division
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Telephone: +41 22 917 1032