|Transboundary aquifers: managing a vital resource – The UNILC draft articles on the Law of Transboundary Aquifers|
The UN International Law Commission (ILC) embarked on the codification of the law of transboundary aquifers in 2002 in order to provide legal regime for the proper management of aquifers in view of the critically important freshwater resources. UNESCO-IHP played a central role in providing the valuable assistances and support to ILC by mobilizing hydrogeologists, groundwater administrators and water lawyers.
In a rather short period of 6 years, ILC was able to adopt this year the text of a preamble and an entire set of 19 draft articles, on second reading, which is reproduced in this brochure. ILC has sent the draft articles together with the commentaries thereto to the 63rd session (2008) of the UN General Assembly.
As the problem of groundwater is indeed an urgent global matter, it would be most desirable if the principles embodied in the draft articles are implemented as expeditiously as possible by governments in their bilateral or regional arrangements for the management of their specific transboundary aquifers. It would also be desirable if the UN undertakes at a later stage to transform the draft articles into a legally binding framework convention.
From a scientific perspective, it is hoped this brochure will contribute to a better understanding of transboundary aquifers and the importance of their role in water governance and thus the drafting of the Convention on Transboundary Aquifers.
The recognition of the contribution of the UNILC draft articles towards the better management of aquifer systems is undeniable and we hope they receive the due attention of both the scientific and policy making communities.