Transboundary groundwater resources are of critical importance to the prosperity and well-being of individuals and States, not only for the present, but for future generations. Their protection is essential to ensuring the Human Right to Water. Groundwater constitutes the vast majority of the globe’s freshwater supply, for potable, industrial, and agricultural use. Frequently, aquifers that contain this valuable resource straddle national boundaries. Recent years have thus seen increased attention paid to the development of international legal principles and regimes that have the aim of helping to protect and manage transnational groundwater resources. It is nevertheless generally understood that the international legal regime pertaining to transboundary groundwater is still less developed than the regime applicable to more visible transboundary surface waters.
The Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly is currently discussing the law of transboundary aquifers. This event provides an open exchange of views and experiences regarding this topic. It will serve as an opportunity to discuss recent developments in the international law governing transboundary groundwater, along with ideas on the further development of this area of law. It will also provide an opportunity to consider the challenges currently facing States with respect to managing and protecting shared groundwater resources, and will offer an opportunity to discuss how lessons from international cooperation in other contexts might help chart a path forward.
H.E. Dr. Caleb Otto
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Permanent Representative of Palau to the UN
Christina Hioureas, Esq.
Chair of United Nations Practice Group
Foley Hoag LLP
Dr. Javier Taks
Chairman of the UNESCO Chair on Water and Culture
Universidad de la República Uruguay
Nicholas Anton, Moderator
Coordinator of UN Programs
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese