Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses

General Detail

General Information

  1. Type: Convention
  2. Date of signature:
  3. Place of signature: New York, USA
  4. Depositary:
  5. Date of entry into force: 17/08/2014


Environment and products

Sub category

International watercourses



What is it about?

This Convention applies to the usage of international watercourses for purposes other than navigation. It details measures of protection, preservation and management related to such usage. The mission of the Convention is to provide optimal and sustainable utilization. State Parties to this instrument agree to an equitable and reasonable usage of their watercourses, taking into account the interests of other watercourse States concerned. In utilizing an international watercourse, Parties agree to take into account such matters as geographic, hydrological, climatic, and ecological factors, the social and economic needs of watercourse states concerned, the population on the watercourse in each watercourse State, and the conservation, protection, development, and economy of use of the water resources. State Parties are obliged not to cause significant harm, as well as to undertake planned measures to protect, preserve and manage their watercourses. State Parties are encouraged to cooperate and to regularly exchange data and information. Before a watercourse State implements or permits the implementation of planned measures that may have a significant adverse effect upon other watercourse States, it must provide those States with timely notification. Any dispute that cannot be settled by agreement can be submitted to any joint watercourse institutions that may have been established by them or agree to submit the dispute to arbitration or to the International Court of Justice

Why is it relevant?

By creating rules to ensure the development, conservation, management and protection of international waters, State parties protect not only their territory but also important economic sectors, such as fishing, agriculture and tourism.

Additional Information

States apply and adjust their “watercourse agreements” to the provision of the Convention.

  • The Convention of the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Economic Commission for Europe, Helsinki, 17 March 1992).


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