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The United Nations Convention on the Law of Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses, Customary International Law, and the Interests of Developing Upper Riparians

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Document pages: 41 pages

Abstract: The year 1997 saw two major developments in public international law regarding the non-navigational uses of the waters of transboundary watercourses. In May, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Law of Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses. The Convention was the product of decades of diligent effort by its drafters and there were hopes that it would form the foundation for a normative framework along the lines of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The Convention was somewhat overshadowed, however, by another major event in international watercourse law: In August, the International Court of Justice issued its decision in the Gabcikovo-Nagymaros dispute between Slovakia and Hungary.The process of adoption of the Convention (which has since entered into force) provides insight into the effect of General Assembly resolutions as evidence of both state practice and opinio juris. The votes and statements of individual nations in the course of the adoption provide further evidence of those states assent to or dissent from the norm-formation process. Looking at the dissenting and abstaining nations as a group suggests that the convention may have not fully addressed the needs and concerns of developing upper riparian states.

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