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25 Nat. Resources J. 563 (1985)
Patterns of Cooperation in International Water Law: Principles and Institutions

handle is hein.journals/narj25 and id is 577 raw text is: DANTE A. CAPONERA*

Patterns of Cooperation in
International Water Law: Principles
and Institutions
Neither the requirements for efficient water resources management nor
the technical standards corresponding to the most reasonable regime
of water resource management are difficult to identify and propose. The
real difficulty concerns the political willingness of states to achieve in-
stitutionalized cooperation regarding water resources of each international
basin. Current experiments in the joint management of international water
resources can provide useful insights to states willing to cooperate. Many
similarities exist among the agencies established all over the world for
the purpose of assuring an equitable share in and the best utilization of
those resources. Essential structural features of cooperation include: gov-
ernment participation, principal and subsidiary organs, voting procedure,
and functions and powers of the agency. Similarities may develop into
established patterns in the course of time, only to be adapted to local
conditions. Such patterns, however, only indicate a practice which is not
binding on states sharing the same resource: detailed mechanisms and
procedures always are the free choice of states. The question of whether
states are also free to refuse any sort of cooperative arrangements at all
is impossible to definitively answer in the abstract. Any legal obligation
regarding water resources which arises out of current international law
can only be based on either the general principles and recommendations
expressed by and within the United Nations or on the customary principles
created by the states concerned within each water basin or system.
Cooperative arrangements, including principles and institutions, are
necessary to prevent, mitigate, administer, and solve problems arising
from the use of natural resources having transboundary impacts. These
arrangements refer to air; atmospheric, surface, and underground water;
hydrocarbons; oceans; and bio-resources (flora and fauna). This article
is limited to cooperative arrangements relative to water resources.
*Formerly Chief, FAO Legislation Branch; Chairman, Executive Council AIDA (International
Association for Water Law); Rapporteur on International Administration of the Committee on In-
ternational Water Resources Law of the International Law Association.

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