Basin-Wide Treaty: Prospects for Cooperation in the Jordan River Basin Using the U.N. Watercourses Convention

  • 2016

Basin-Wide Treaty: Prospects for Cooperation in the Jordan River Basin Using the U.N. Watercourses Convention

Author:
Meirav Even-Har
Abstract:

The Jordan River Basin is an international water resource that includes surface and groundwater running through and under five riparian states: Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria. The region, having experienced on-going armed conflict in all or parts of it, maintains a hyper-vigilant environment where water – being a scare and precious resource – is considered a war-instigating factor. Water cooperation, nevertheless, exists among some of the riparians, albeit it in limited form. Thus, the opportunity for escalation of either conflict or cooperation over shared waters will mainly be determined by states’ willingness to set aside politics in favor of regional sustainability. The 1997 Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses (Watercourses Convention) can serve as a framework for an absent basin-wide agreement that will help secure sustainable and equitable water management among co-riparian states in the region. It is a potential avenue to open a much-needed dialogue among often-hostile nations is through the apolitical topic of water sustainability for the region. Namely, ensuring the health of the Jordan River Basin is addressed and maintained. The UN Watercourses Convention ratified by all nations except for Israel, offers a framework from which negotiators can begin work. The political instability and military hostilities in the region renders engagement in water law a difficult proposition. That being said, the interdependence of states created through shared waters can trigger cross-border dialogue among lawmakers and water experts in the interest of water security and conflict abatement.