Article 34

34.1 Commentary


34.1.1 Opening for signature

On 21 May 1997, the UN General Assembly adopted the UN Watercourses Convention. It proclaimed that, in accordance with Article 34, the Convention shall be open for signature to all states and regional economic integration organisations from the same day until 20 May 2000.534 Many multilateral agreements, especially UN conventions, provide that they will be ‘open for signature’ until a specified date, after which signature will no longer be permitted. By 20 May 2000, however, only 16 states had signed the Convention. Since it is now closed for signature, the question may arise: Can states which did not sign the Convention still become a contracting party? In these cases, international law allows states to do so by ‘acceding’ to a treaty (see Article 35); meaning that, in practice, the ‘closing for signature’ has no impact on the process of entering into force. As a matter of fact, half of the states party to the Convention became so by accession.

534 UNGA Res 51/229 (21 May 1997) UN Doc A/RES/51/229.

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