الإجتماع الحكومي التشاوري حول مشروع الإطار القانوني الخاص بالمياه المشتركة في المنطقة العربية
Management of shared water resources among different riparians emerges as an important concern in the context of the Arab region, where water scarcity is becoming an overwhelming reality, and in turn affects economic productivity and sustainable development. In this respect water should be used as a catalyst and incentive for cooperation among riparian countries and used in building modes of cooperation among them, in order to enhance the efficient use of water resources at local and national levels. Although good examples of cooperation among riparian states on the use of shared water resource in the region exist, reaching consensus on developing and managing these resources is not always the case. In the absence of dialogue and cooperation among stakeholders on shared water resources and in the absence of binding institutional and legal mechanisms to address issues of water allocation, protection of quality and monitoring of groundwater utilization among riparians, potential conflicts could rise.
The League of Arab States established in 2008 the Arab Ministerial Water Council. In its meetings the Council identified shared water resources as a regional priority and emphasized the importance of using all available international water-related legal instruments to secure and protect Arab water rights. In view of these developments, the Council during its second session in July 2010 passed a resolution to:
Invite the Center of Water Studies and Arab Water Security and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), in coordination with the Arab Center for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands (ACSAD) and the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) to prepare a draft legal framework on shared waters within the Arab Region for its discussion during the next meeting of the Technical Scientific Advisory Committee of the Ministerial Council in January 2011.
Arab Ministerial Water Council, Session 2, Resolution 4, Item 3
This action by the Ministerial Council can be viewed as a major step towards improved legal arrangements between the member countries of the League of Arab States and their neighbors. The initiative also provides an opportunity to clarify principles related to the management of shared water resources at the inter-regional level (between the region and the bordering non-Arab countries) and intra-regional level (between countries of the region).
Therefore this intergovernmental meeting will bring together the partners responsible for implementing the Arab Ministerial Water Council resolution, along with official representatives of Arab Governments and a limited number of international and regional experts on legal issues related to shared water resources. Participants will discuss a proposed draft legal framework on shared freshwater resources in the Arab region that was prepared in Arabic based on the background document reviewed in the December meeting. The background document identifies and justifies the legal principles that are proposed in the draft legal framework for shared water resources in the Arab region and include all guiding principles that are expected to govern the cooperation, management and allocation of shared water resources as they relate to the Arab region. Discussion will also touch on the proposed format of the legal framework as this will impact the structure, level of detail, institutional requirements and monitoring components that would be included in the draft articles.