Article 24

24.2 Application


States A, B and C share river X. The catchment of the river is largely within the territory of states B and C, although state A’s territory contributes part of the flow of the river. States B and C have entered into a treaty arrangement for the joint use, development and protection of river X. The arrangement sets up a sophisticated institutional arrangement which includes a joint commission encompassing a secretariat, working groups, and so forth. The activities of the commission include joint monitoring of the river, joint infrastructure development, stakeholder participation, and compliance and enforcement mechanisms. State B and State C consider that the commission has been an effective means by which to use, develop and protect river X in a collective manner.

Given the success of the institutional arrangement, States B and C would like state A to become party to the institutional arrangement. State A is not willing to become party to the institutional arrangement. While state A is keen to cooperate with states B and C in the sharing of data and information, monitoring, development plans, and so forth it feels that the financial costs of joining such a sophisticated institutional arrangement as the commission outweigh the benefits. States B and C argue that state B has an obligation to join the commission given the explicit and implicit requirements under Article 24 of the UN Watercourses Convention. As no agreement can be made, and in an endeavour to maintain good relations between the states, the parties submit their dispute to a tribunal. The court supports state A’s position on the basis that its contribution and use of the river is negligible compared to States B and C, and it is therefore able to satisfy the requirements of the Convention in relation to river X without entering into any institutional arrangement.

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