WWF is particularly urging governments to promote and accelerate:
- Ratifications for the entry into force of the 1997 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses (UN Watercourses Convention); and
- Ratifications for the entry into force of the 2003 Amendment to the 1992 Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (UNECE Water Convention).
The current situation
While watercourse agreements are already in force for some international river basins, many of these simply define borders or regulate joint water resources development. Numerous others do not involve all states within a basin.
Most agreements contain serious gaps and failings. For example, they provide neither for integrated river basin management, nor for adequate ecosystem protection or pollution control. Many agreements also lack appropriate enforcement mechanisms and monitoring provisions.
Where no cooperative management frameworks
exist, which is the case in 60% of the world's international watercourses, unilateral action by one state can significantly impact human health and livelihoods across the border.
Effective multinational governance mechanisms would support the sustainable management of places like the Amazon, Mekong, Indus, Sepik, Fly, Amur, Zambezi, and Congo basins. It would protect river ecosystems and communities dependent upon them and encourage nations to work together to sustainably manage and conserve water resources physically shared among them.