On October 17th, a seminar on ‘Groundwater Resources and the Law of Transboundary Aquifers’ was held at the United Nations headquarters in New York. IGRAC Director Neno Kukuric was invited to present IGRAC’s transboundary groundwater activities during this seminar that was organised by UNESCO-IHP, the EU delegation to the UN and the Slovak Mission to highlight the importance of groundwater resources and transboundary aquifers in the framework of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 on water.
Dr. Neno Kukuric presented IGRAC’s recent transboundary aquifer assessment activities and how all data it yielded is presented in the Global Groundwater Information System (GGIS). In addition, he highlighted that the latest Transboundary Aquifers of the World Map published in 2015 has identified 592 transboundary aquifers and he further underscored the need for technical cooperation to support bilateral and regional agreements for better management of groundwater resources.
Impact of groundwater governance
Chief of Section on Groundwater Systems and Settlements at UNESCO-IHP, Dr. Alice Aureli, underlined the significant impact groundwater governance will have on the way water resources will be managed in the near future, calling for a closer cooperation on Transboundary Aquifer Resources. “To do so, we need to improve the existing scientific knowledge on this topic and to develop a multidisciplinary approach of Transboundary Aquifers.”
Draft articles on the law of transboundary aquifers
Professor Gabriel Eckstein from Texas A&M University School of Law, provided a legal perspective on the current issues relating to the management, allocation and the regulation of Transboundary Aquifers. Referring to the draft articles on the law of Transboundary Aquifers, professor Eckstein described the features of the Articles as mechanisms for cooperation with flexible norms designed to discourage conflict and encourage collaboration among states. “These Articles will provide guidance for bilateral or regional agreements and arrangements for the proper management of Transboundary Aquifers. Additionally, they will serve as framework for developing locally-specific agreements by filling the gaps in the regimes for international environmental and natural resources law.”
In 2013, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 68/118 on the “Law of Transboundary Aquifers”, including an annex of 19 draft articles to be considered by Member States when negotiating future arrangements for the management of their transboundary aquifers.