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Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes

Document type
Field of application
May 7, 1992
IUCN (ID: TRE-001142)
Title (French)

Convention sur la protection et l'utilisation des cours d'eau transfrontières et des lacs internationaux

Title (Spanish)

Convención sobre la protección y utilización de cursos de agua transfronterizos y lagos internacionales

Title (Other)

Übereinkommen zum Schutz und zur Nutzung grenzüberschreitender Wasserläufe und internationaler Seen

Place of adoption
UN United Nations
English, French, Russian
Entry into force
Oct 6, 1996
Precautionary principle

Objectives: To strengthen national and international actions aimed at the protection and ecologically sound management of transboundary waters. Summary of provisions: (a) Definition of important terms used in the Convention, such as “transboundary Water”, “transboundary impact”, “Riparian Parties” (art. 1) (b) Statement of provisions of common application to parties. These include the duty to prevent, control and reduce pollution of waters which have a transboundary range; to exercise economy and rational management in respect of such waters; to practice equity in the use of transboundary waters; and to avoid the transfer of pollution from one location to another; to undertake precautionary measures, so as to avert possible pollution of transboundary waters; to employ the polluters-pays principle as one measure to discourage the pollution of transboundary waters, to employ cooperative endeavours among the Riparian Parties, in the control of water pollution (art. 2) (c) Specification of prevention, control and reduction measures in respect of transboundary water pollution. The relevant provisions (art. 3) impose obligations in relation to the emission of pollutants, the management of point sources of pollution, the application of suitable technology to discharge of hazardous substances, the treatment of municipal waste water, the control of deposits of noxious matter from diffuse sources affecting water, and the adoption of environmental impact assessment as part of a strategy to maintain the ecological balance; (d) Requirement of cooperation in research and development, among the parties to bring about effective measures to control for transboundary water pollution (arts. 5 and 12); (e) Requirement of bilateral and multilateral cooperation among Riparian Parties, so as to facilitate control of transboundary water pollution (art. 9); (f) Prescription of effective monitoring of measures for the control of transboundary water pollution (arts. 4 and 11); (g) Stipulation of the duty to consult and to give warning, among the Parties, in relation to transboundary water pollution (arts. 6, 10, 13, 14 and 16), and to assist one another in effecting control of such pollution (art. 15); (h) Provisions of machinery for review of measures taken under the Convention, and for its administration (arts. 7, 18 and 19); (i) Provisions for the settlement of disputes (art. 22). The Convention has following Annexes: Annex I: Definition on the term “best available technology”; Annex II: Guidelines for developing best environmental practices; Annex III: Guidelines for developing water-quality objectives and criteria; Annex IV: Arbitration. (Source: UNEP Register of International Treaties and Other Agreements in the Field of the Environment, 2005)

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