Article 1

1.1.5 Navigation

Along similar lines to living resources, the Convention applies to navigational uses but only in a very limited way. Article 1 clearly demonstrates that the main focus of the Convention is on water uses other than navigation. However, because the Convention addresses management and conservation of transboundary watersheds and their ecosystems, Art 1(2) provides that where navigational uses impact on other water uses – either in terms of water quantity or quality – then they fall under the substantive norms of the Convention. Most notable is the obligation to utilise international watercourses in an equitable and reasonable manner pursuant to Article 5 and Article 6.

Navigation activities that would fall under the Convention because of their potential impact on other water uses may include pollution from vessels, adverse environmental effects or conflicts of use from navigational activities which require that certain levels of water be maintained or require passages through and around barriers in the watercourse.96 Any conflict of interest should be solved according to the principle of Equitable and Reasonable Utilisation of an international watercourse.

Art 1(2) of the Convention represents a departure from the ILA Helsinki Rules on the Uses of the Water of International Rivers, in that the latter instrument included a chapter on navigation. The ILA provision covered issues such as the right to ‘free’ navigation, policing the navigation of international rivers, the loading of vessels, and the maintenance of navigation routes.97

96 1994 Draft Articles at 89.

97 Committee on the Uses of the Waters of International Rivers , ‘Helsinki Rules on the Uses of the Waters of International Rivers’ in International Law Association Report of the fifty-second conference (Helsinki 1966) (International Law Association, London 1967) Chapter 4.

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