Interactive Online Session: The Source-to-Sea Approach in International Water Law

The Transboundary Freshwater Security Governance Train continues its journey on 19 October, with an 8th interactive session in the series. The topic for this event is the source-to-sea approach in international water law. It is jointly organised by GWP and Wuhan International Water Academy (IWLA) and it is part of the ongoing efforts to engage more with participants of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for Governance for Transboundary Freshwater Security.

The many rivers and lakes that criss-cross international boundaries act as vital water resources for communities around the world. While we may think of them as separate entities to be managed, the way we utilize and treat freshwater resources can impact many different elements of the natural environment. One of these elements, and the focus of this session, is the connection between transboundary freshwater resources and the marine environment and how the rules of international law address this complex interaction.

As just one example, pollution from transboundary rivers eventually travels into the marine environment where it impacts wildlife and water quality, a real concern for coastline watercourse states. This has been most evident over the past few years in the issue of marine plastics, the large majority of which travel into the ocean from major rivers. What are the rules of international law that govern this marine interface? What are the key issues in state practice?

Questions will be collected in advance (through the MOOC platform) and during the 1.5-hour-long session. Panellists will provide brief presentations and then the floor is open to questions in breakout rooms, which offers an opportunity to engage directly with regional experts.

WHEN: Tuesday, 19 October, at 9 AM (Washington DC), 10 AM (Rio de Janeiro), 2 PM (London), 3 PM (Stockholm), 3 PM (Johannesburg), 9 PM (Beijing)

WHAT: The session will feature speakers with different experiences to share, discussing the following topics:

  • What are the rules of international law that govern the marine interface?
  • How can we manage these different parts of the marine environment holistically in coherent legal frameworks?
  • What are examples of best practices at the intersection of the marine and riverine environment?

HOW: Registration is required, please use this link.

WHO: The confirmed speakers are:

Please note: Prior to this online session, participants are encouraged to register to the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Governance for Transboundary Freshwater Security, and to take a look at the case studies and lectures in module 5d2 of the MOOC on the topic of source-to-sea management. Participants may also be interested in SIWI’s source-to-sea practitioner’s guide: Implementing the source-to-sea approach: A guide for practitioners. We also recommend you to review the article by our speaker, Elizabeth Kirk, exploring the legal regulations against plastic waste: E.A. Kirk (2020) “International legal instruments against plastic waste in the Oceans”, Environmental Policy and Law.