Transboundary Aquifers and International Law: The Experience of the Guarani Aquifer System

31 August 2010

University of Surrey

Guildford, United Kingdom

[Seminar Booklet]

 

This seminar will bring together an interdisciplinary group of international water experts to discuss the experience gained by in the sustainable management of the Guarani Aquifer System in the light of the current developments on international law of transboundary aquifers. Speakers will include experts who have been collaborating with the United Nations International Law Commission in the work that has led to the adoption of the Draft Articles on the law of transboundary aquifers and experts whose work focuses on the Guarani Aquifer System.

The seminar is part of the Environmental Regulatory Research Group project “The Environmental Protection of the Guarani Aquifer: A Legal Perspective” and it contributes to the UNESCO-IHP ISARM (Internationally Shared Aquifers Resource Management) Programme. The seminar will constitute the official launch of the Surrey Centre on Transboundary Aquifers Governance (ScTAG).

 

 

Background
Programme

Speakers & Abstracts
Organisers
Outcomes

 

Background

Groundwater and Transboundary Aquifers

Water is vital for human needs. Some go as far as to consider access to water as a “human right”. Groundwater amounts to 97% of the available world freshwater and its sustainable management is tantamount for overall water security. More than 200 transboundary aquifers have been identified of which only four are currently partly regulated. Devising rules capable of protecting groundwater quality and availability and of fostering joint management when aquifers are shared amongst different countries is one of the key environmental challenges for the international community.


The UN-ILC Draft Articles on Transboundary Aquifers

The United Nations International Law Commission (UN-ILC) has worked on the law of transboundary aquifers from 2002 to 2008. This work has led to a series of draft articles, which have been annexed to UN General Assembly resolution 63/124 in 2008. The future of the UN-ILC draft articles on the law of transboundary aquifers is unclear and the UN General Assembly has decided that in 2011, when some experience with the draft articles have been gained, it will examine whether to convene a conference for the negotiation of a convention based on the articles.


The Guarani Aquifer System

The Guarani Aquifer System is a transboundary aquifer shared by four countries in the southern hemisphere of Latin America: Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. The Guarani Aquifer System is the third biggest aquifer in the world and it expands to over 108 Million km². The volume of its water would be equivalent to a 200m deep lake the size of Uruguay, which would be able to satisfy the drinking needs of the entire world’s population for the next 200 years.

 

Speakers & Abstracts

Speaker

Affiliation

Presentation

Alice AureliUNESCO International Hydrological Programme (IHP)Transboundary Aquifers: An Introduction to the new phase of UNESCO´s ISARM programme [Presentation]
Attila TanziFull Professor of International Law, University of Bologna and Chairman of the Legal Board of the UNECE Water Convention [Bionote] 
Francesco SindicoLecturer, School of Law, University of Surrey and Deputy Director, Environmental Regulatory Research Group [Bionote]The management of the Guarani Aquifer System and the UN ILC Draft Articles on the law of Transboundary Aquifers [Abstract] [Presentation]
Gabriel EcksteinDirector, International Water Law Project; Professor of Law, Texas Wesleyan University School of Law [Bionote]Buried Treasure or Buried Hopes?: The Status of Mexico-U.S. Transboundary Aquifers and International Law [Abstract] [Presentation]
Kerstin MechlemLecturer in International Law and Human Rights, University of Ulster [Bionote]International Law of Transboundary Aquifers [Abstract] [Presentation]
Lilian del Castillo LabordeProfessor, University of Buenos Aires School of Law [Bionote] 
Luiz AmoreFormer Secretary-General of the Project for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development of the Guarani Aquifer System [Bionote]The Guarani Aquifer management strategy developed by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay [Abstract] [Presentation]
Malgosia FitzmauriceProfessor of Public International Law, Department of Law, Queen Mary, University of London [Bionote] 
María QuerolMember of the IUCN Commission on Environmental LawThe Guarani Aquifer and the Treaty of the River Plate Basin [Presentation]
Mark ZeitounSenior Lecturer, UEA Water Security Research Centre, School of International Development, University of East AngliaGroundwater and global water security [Abstract] [Presentation]
Owen McIntyreSenior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, National University of Ireland [Bionote]International Law Relating to Surface Transboundary Fresh Water and the International Law Commission’s Draft Articles on Transboundary Aquifers: A Missed Opportunity for Cross-Fertilisation? [Abstract] [Presentation]
Raya Marina StephanWater Law Specialist, Consultant, UNESCO-IHP [Bionote]The Draft Articles on the law of Transboundary Aquifers: the process at the UN ILC [Abstract] [Presentation]
Rosalind MalcolmProfessor, School of Law, University of Surrey and Director, Environmental Regulatory Research GroupIntroductory Remarks and presentation of the Surrey Centre on Transboundary Aquifers Governance (ScTAG) [Presentation]
Steve PedleySenior Research Fellow, Robens Centre for Public and Environmental Health [Bionote] 

 

Organisers


The seminar is part of the Environmental Regulatory Research Group project “The Environmental Protection of the Guarani Aquifer: A Legal Perspective” and it contributes to the UNESCO-IHP ISARM (Internationally Shared Aquifers Resource Management) Programme. The seminar will constitute the official launch of the Surrey Centre on Transboundary Aquifers Governance (ScTAG).

Environmental Regulatory Research Group (www.surrey.ac.uk/errg)

The Environmental Regulatory Research Group is based at the School of Law in the University of Surrey. The Group deals with four main areas: Climate Change, Environmental and Public Health, Natural Resources, and Water. In each of these areas ERRG is actively involved in research, teaching and consultancy. ERRG members include researchers based at the University of Surrey and external members coming from a wide spectrum of countries and different academic backgrounds.

UNESCO-IHP ISARM (http://www.isarm.net/)

The worldwide ISARM (Internationally Shared Aquifer Resources Management) Initiative is an UNESCO and IAH led multi-agency effort aimed at improving the understanding of scientific, socio-economic, legal, institutional and environmental issues related to the management of transboundary aquifers.

Surrey Centre on Transboundary Aquifers Governance (ScTAG)

The University of Surrey will be officially launching the Surrey Centre on Transboundary Aquifers Governance at this seminar. ScTAG aims to become a reference for researchers and policymakers engaged in work on transboundary aquifers. The analysis of the regulatory framework of the Guarani Aquifer System wishes to be the first study of this kind and the Centre´s work will expand to other transboundary aquifers in the American Continent, in Europe and in Africa. ScTAG will work very closely with UNESCO and its activities will contribute to the ISARM Programme.

Outcomes

Three sets of publications are planned from this seminar:

  • A selection of papers will be published by the International Community Law Review, a leading environmental law journal, as a special issue on Transboundary Aquifers and International Law;
  • A report focusing on the legal and policy aspects of the Guarani Aquifer System will be published jointly by the School of Law of the University of Surrey and by UNESCO-IHP;
  • An edited book will be published in Spanish on the legal and policy aspects of the Guarani Aquifer System

Finally, the results of this seminar will be presented at the UNESCO IHP-ISARM and PCCP Programmes International Conference “Transboundary Aquifers: Challenges and New Directions” on 6-8 December 2010.

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Expiry Date: Wednesday 25 May 2011 16:58:59
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