(1) Global Level On 13 December, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted Resolution 71/150 on the law of transboundary aquifers. The resolution follows on from Resolutions 63/124, 66/104, and 68/118 by the same title that the UNGA had adopted in December 2008, 2011, and 2013, respectively (an analysis of the Draft Articles on the Law of Transboundary Aquifers, appended to Resolution 63/124, features in volume 19 of this Yearbook). The latest UNGA resolution closely mirrors the predecessor resolutions, almost verbatim. Once again, as in the past, the UNGA took note of the draft Articles on the Law of Transboundary Aquifers, which were developed by the UN International Law Commission on the strength of two highly significant legal instruments cited in the resolution—that is, the 2010 Guaranì Aquifer Agreement (see volume 21 of this Yearbook) and the 2012 Model Provisions on Transboundary Groundwaters, which were adopted by the Meeting of the Parties to the 1992 Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (see volume 23 of this Yearbook). The UNGA commended the draft articles as guidance in the negotiation of agreements and arrangements for the ‘proper management’ of transboundary aquifers. The resolution further defers to the seventy-fourth session of the UNGA (which will take place in 2019) for further consideration of the topic. It is worth noting in this connection that the vexed issue of the eventual ‘final form’ of the draft articles—something that had been explicitly mentioned in Resolutions 63/124 and 66/104 but that had been omitted in Resolution 68/118—has also been omitted in the resolution under review. One may infer, as a result, that this admittedly intractable issue has been shelved for good. (2) Americas On 6 June, Chile submitted to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) its dispute with Bolivia on the Silala/Siloli Basin. Since 1997, Bolivia has contended that the watercourse is not international and that it therefore belongs exclusively to Bolivia. In its application, Chile requested that the ICJ ‘declare that the Silala River system is in fact and in law an international watercourse whose use by Chile and Bolivia is governed by customary international law.’ This case has the potential to result in a landmark decision in the international water law field since it is the first time that a dispute concerning the status of a watercourse as international has been submitted to the court (see T. Meshel, ‘A New Transboundary Freshwater Dispute before the International Court of Justice’ (2017) 42(1) Water International 92). © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: email@example.com
Yearbook of International Environmental Law – Oxford University Press
Published: Dec 28, 2017
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