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This map provides insights into a global harmonisation in the perspective of water law and water scarcity on a river basin scale.

Map description and dataset provided by: UNESCO – Institute for Water Education

DescriptionHarmonisation of Freshwater Law

The aim of this map is to make a classification based of the following characteristics: 1) Does the regions authority ratified or supported the UN Convention on the Law of Non-Navigational Uses of International Water courses ‘97? 2) The amount of groundwater and freshwater treaties applicable per region. 3) Does the region suffer from waterscarcity? The regions that can be regarded as inconsistent and thus not harmonious in their approach to form a transboundary water management and where waterscarcity appears to be a growing threat can roughly be divided in North and South with the exception of Asia. Northern countries tend to be positive towards the UN Convention ’97 and signed more than two transboundary water treaties. South- and central America, Africa and the Middle East represent a mixture of consistent and inconsistent regions. Asia and central Africa represent the bulk of countries not positive towards a transboundary watermanagement but do tend to suffer from relative waterscarcity.


This map visualizes the willingness and need to develop a transboundary watermanagement. Although this issue is rather complicated and not very accurate on a global scale, the indicators as used here do indicate regions that are disharmonious in the given context. Many Southern countries do not support a global institutional convention like the UN Convention ’97 and hence refuses to adopt such institutional framework for developing a transboundary watermanagement. This is rather contradictive when one recognizes the need for institutional capacity in these regions where waterscarcity is a threat to the well being of the population. African and South American regions are rather diverse in this sense and most Asian regions do not seem to be eager to contribute to a transboundary watermanagement although waterscarcity forms a threat.


The dataset for this map was provided by: Joost-Jan Schrander, UNESCO – Institute for Water Education


This dataset was developed for one of three case studies for the Master’s thesis ‘GIS-Implementation in Analysing and Communicating the Institutional Aspects of Transboundary Watermanagement’ written by Joost-Jan Schrander in cooperation with UNESCO-IHE, coordinated by Prof. Dr. Joyeeta Gupta and Prof. Dr. Pieter van der Zaag.


Please cite this map as: "GWSP Digital Water Atlas (2008). Map 22: Harmonisation of Freshwater Law (V1.0). Available online at http://atlas.gwsp.org."

Contact Information

Joost-Jan Schrander, Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit, De Boelelaan 1078, 1081HV, Amsterdam, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Phone: +31 (0) 624 571 156

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