A non-governmental, non-profit, international association of lawyers and non-lawyers active in the field of fresh water resources

Last updated August 24, 2016


Vacancy Announcement: UNESCO Natural Sciences Division of Hydrological Science- Section of Groundwater Systems and Human Settlements


Domain : Natural Sciences - Hydrological Science

Grade : P-4


Primary Location : FR-Paris

Recruitment open to : Internal and external candidates

Type of contract : Fixed Term

Salary : 91 873 Euros  

Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 22 June, 2017


Under the overall authority of the Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences (ADG/SC) and the direct supervision of the Chief of Section of Groundwater Systems and Settlements (SC/HYD/GSS), the incumbent will be  the  responsible officer for the Environmental Groundwater Resources Management and Human Settlements component of the UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme (IHP). S/he will define priorities for the comprehensive research and studies on the water education activites related to groundwater and transboundary aquifers and the use of new science-based methodologies that facilitate the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). S/he will ensure the development and delivery of programme and project management initiatives of the Section and will manage, advise and report on their progress.

The incumbent in particular will:

  • Develop, drive and ensure the delivery of a comprehensive Environmental Groundwater Resources Management Programme, and contribute to the Human Settlements strategy.

  • Conceptualize new science-based methodologies for data collection and analysis and design relevant approaches, partnerships, policies and objectives.

  • Plan, develop and implement outreach strategies, aimed at expanding programmes and  increasing resources and visibility through communication with partners and networks.

  • Coordinate multidisciplinary activities on surface water and groundwater conjunctive management.

  • Ensure consultative support and execute technical assistance and capacity development projects in strategic areas of UNESCO’s IHP mandate, as well as provide intellectual and strategic advice on the alignment of the Transboundary Aquifers Resources Management initiatives to attain the Sustainable Development Goals such as the SDG 6, and in particular SDG 6.5.2.

    • Mobilize resources through the preparation of project proposals, cooperation frameworks, and negotiation with donor agencies and other technical partners.

    • Organize consultations, training and technical events related to the section or IHP.

    • Represent the IHP at internal and external meetings and network events, and serve as focal point within the Division of Water Sciences on his/her areas of expertise; participate in crosscutting activities and projects.



  • Advanced university degree (Master’s or equivalent in the field of water resources management, hydrology, environmental engineering, water resources engineering / sciences, geohydrology or in a related area. A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.


  • A minimum of 7 years of progressively responsible professional experience in the field of water resources management, hydrology and water resources research, of which preferably 3 years acquired at the international level.

  • Research and education experience in the field of water with a proven track record of scientific publications.

 To apply open the link : https://careers.unesco.org/careersection/2/joblist.ftl  and identify the Post Number : SC 460

Online Course on the Law of International Freshwater Resources

The objective of this course is to provide a basis for the analysis and understanding of the legal framework for the management of transboundary fresh water resources, including rivers, lakes and aquifers. It illustrates the principles and rules applying to the utilization, sharing, management and protection of these resources, and includes a module on the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes. The course was developed by members of the Platform for International Water Law of the Law Faculty of the University of Geneva.

The course is available online, at: https://www.coursera.org/learn/droit-international-eau-douce

Crystal Drop awarded to Dr Salman M.A. Salman at the 16th World Water Congress of the International Water Resources Association, Cancun, Mexico, 1 June, 2017
Acceptance and Keynote Address

Thank you very much Ben, thank you Jim and Patrick

Good afternoon water colleagues and friends

I am deeply humbled by my selection as the co-recipient of the Crystal Drop Award 2017. It is indeed a great honor being a member since 1994 of the International Water Resources Association - the premier, global, inclusive think tank that encompasses all the disciplines and experts around the world working on water resources.

Thus, it is particularly rewarding and gratifying that this distinguished community of experts has recognized my work on water law and policy, and on the urgent need for cooperation on shared watercourses. This is a mission I have embarked on some decades ago at my hometown, Khartoum, at the confluence of the Blue Nile and White Nile in the Sudan.

It is also a special privilege to share this Award with my friend Cecilia Tortajada. She was the first, and thus far, the only female president of the Association. I had the opportunity of working as a director under her presidency in 2007 - 2009, and had witnessed her hard work and dedication to strengthen and advance our Association.

To my colleagues and friends in the legal arena of water resources, I would like to reiterate that this Award is really ours together. It is a timely reconfirmation of the vital role that national and international law can, and indeed, should play in the management, sharing, and protection of water resources.


Allow me fellow water colleagues and friends, after this acceptance speech of the Crystal Drop Award, to deliver a short address on the role and contribution of our International Water Resources Association on the on-going debate on the challenges facing water resources.

We have now been in Cancun together for almost a week, for our sixteenth Congress, debating and brainstorming on the tremendous challenges facing the planet’s most scarce and precious resource. Hence, I thought I would use my remaining time for a quick overview of how the road to this week’s Congress has been paved, and to bring to light the great efforts that have helped in expanding and strengthening our contribution to water resources management.

The efforts of the Association in this connection are almost half a century old, and can be traced to the seventies of last century. During all these years the Association’s role in the debate has been immense and substantive, its voice loud and audible, and its publications, recommendations and actions have contributed considerably to the successes that have since been achieved in the water sector. Indeed, one can safely contend that the Congresses, debate, and actions of the Association had preceded in earnest, and influenced, all the other global efforts in this field.

The idea of establishing a water institution encompassing all the disciplines working on water resources, and open to all the experts around the world, was debated in the sixties of the last century during the meetings of the American Water Resources Association. However, it was in May 1970 that the first steps were taken for putting this idea into effect. Eighteen months later the preparatory work was completed, and the International Water Resources Association was officially formed and registered, and was legally incorporated in the State of Wisconsin in the USA on 29 November 1971.

On April 1, 1972, Mr. Ven Te Chow, Professor of Hydraulic Engineering at the University of Illinois, was elected as the first President of the Association. The business office was opened in that month in Falls Church, Virginia, with 195 members, representing the major disciplines working on water resources, from more than 40 countries. Thus, the Association was born, hitting the ground running.

The first Association’s World Water Congress was held a year and half later, on September 24 – 28, 1973, in Chicago, Illinois. Indeed, the event marked the birth of the Association, with an impressive attendance of more than 200 experts, representing the major disciplines concerned with water resources, from 62 countries. The theme of the Congress was “Importance and Problems of Water in the Human Environment in Modern Times.” That Congress can accurately be called the first world water forum, and the official launching of our Association as a multi-disciplinary global water institution. The conclusions and resolutions of the first Congress included two important aspects, namely:

One: The need to develop a significant new international and interdisciplinary approach on water resources.

Two: Many common problems exist among nations and water users which can best be solved though a cooperative and coordinated approach.

Thus, the Association was, in 1973, clearly ahead of its time and other institutions. Aren’t these issues still the focus of our discussion, even this weeks in Cancun? Aren’t we still debating multi-disciplinary approaches, integrated water resources management, and the need for cooperation at both the national and international levels for addressing the challenges of management, sharing and protection of water resources?

The year 1975 witnessed two major and significant developments. In July 1975, the first issue of our flag journal – Water International – was published as the first periodical devoted exclusively to water resources management, with articles addressing the multi-disciplinary approach, by experts in all fields of water resources.

The second development was the holding of the Association second Congress in New Delhi, India, in December 1975. The Congress was organized under the theme “Water and Human Needs.” It was attended by more than 1,200 participants from 45 countries, who presented and discussed more than 260 rich multi-disciplinary papers.

The second Congress was hosted by, and co-organized with the Association by the Central Board for Irrigation and Power in New Delhi. This approach set in motion the precedent of hosting of the Congress by the national water institutions, with the assistance and guidance of the Association – a practice we have seen even this week in Mexico, with the organization of ANEAS in Cancun of the 16th Congress. It is worth mentioning that Mexico also hosted the third Congress that was organized thirty-eight years ago, in April 1979 in Mexico City. The theme of that Congress was "Water for Human Survival." About 1,500 participants from 80 countries attended and presented more than 500 papers. These are impressive numbers, interestingly, almost similar to the numbers we are having this week in Cancun.

The multi-disciplinary nature of the Association was proven to the letter when the members of the Association elected Guillermo Cano as the second president in 1979 for the period 1980 to 1982. The more than one hundred legal colleagues who are here this week for the 16th Congress will be pleasantly surprised to learn that the second president of the Association, almost forty years ago, was a lawyer, and not an engineer or a hydrologist. The Association confirmed beyond doubt its multi-disciplinary character.

The role and influence of the Association on other concurrent and parallel events in the water sector have also been quite prominent from the early days. Soon after the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was established in 1972, an invitation was extended to some members of the Association to help with UNEP water programme. Dr. Chow and Dr. Biswas assisted UNEP in that task, and were able to include much of the Association's philosophy in UNEP water policies and program. 

In fact, it was the influence and push of the Association that led the United Nations to hold the first ever conference exclusively devoted to water resources – the Mar del Plata Conference in Argentina in 1977. The secretariat of the Mar del Plata Conference included a number of Association’s members, and the Association contributed considerably to the stounding success of that conference, and its resolutions and action plans.

It was also the Association’s eighth Congress in Cairo in 1994 that paved the way for the establishment of the World Water Council, and later the Global Water Partnership. Henceforth, the mobilization of action on critical water issues at all levels would be undertaken by the World Water Council; the coordination aspects by the Global Water Partnership; leaving the Association to concentrate, as a think tank, on the intellectual aspects of water resources management. The World Water Forums organized by the World Water Council every three years would complement, rather than compete with the Association’s triannual Congress. Some past presidents of the Association would assume the presidency of the World Water Council, and vice versa, and this has helped in transplanting of their unique experience, and in the coordination of the respective activities.

 I can continue for the rest of this afternoon talking about the tremendous influence and contribution of our Association. However, I need to stop here, and conclude with the reminder that despite the successes we have achieved, existing challenges to water resources are multiplying and mounting, and new ones are surfacing every day. We need to remain relevant and effective. However, we can only do so by redoubling our efforts, and by continuing to be innovative, proactive, adaptive, and responsive.

Thank You Very Much.

International conference A Bridge Over Troubled Waters: Dispute Resolution in the Law of International Watercourses and the Law of the Sea, Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law, 25 26 September, 2017

The settlement of interstate fresh water and maritime disputes is currently undergoing a period of great change, creating both challenges and opportunities. This Conference, which is organised in cooperation with the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and with the financial support of the Luxembourg National Research Fund, will bring together internationally renowned experts to evaluate the progress made thus far in these two distinct, yet related, fields, and to discuss the potential for future developments. By focusing on the legal aspects that are common to fresh water and maritime disputes, the Conference aims to yield beneficial comparisons that could serve as the basis for cross-fertilization in both areas. The first day of the Conference will be dedicated to the resolution of international fresh water disputes, while the second day will focus on maritime dispute settlement. Each day will feature four panels that will address the most controversial and salient aspects of these two types of disputes and the methods, forums, and principles used in their resolution. Participants in the Conference will include academics, practitioners, and government officials from Luxembourg, Europe, and around the world. We will also include poster presentations by young researchers working on fresh water and maritime issues. More information on the Conference may be retrieved from http://www.mpi.lu/news-and-events/2017/september/25-26/dispute-resolution-in-the-law-of-international-watercourses-and-the-law-of-the-sea/

New publication: Routledge Handbook of Water Law and Policy
by Alistair Rieu-Clarke (Editor), Andrew Allan (Contributor), Sarah Hendry (Contributor), Routledge, February 2017

Water plays a key role in addressing the most pressing global challenges of our time, including climate change adaptation, food and energy security, environmental sustainability, and the promotion of peace and stability. This comprehensive handbook explores the pivotal place of law and policy in efforts to ensure that water enables positive responses to these challenges and provides a basis for sound governance.
The book reveals that significant progress has been made in recent decades to strengthen the governance of water resource management at different scales, including helping to address international and sub-national conflicts over transboundary water resources. It demonstrates that effective laws and policies are fundamental drivers for the safe, equitable and sustainable utilisation of water. However, it is also shown that what might constitute an effective law or policy related to water resources management is still hotly debated. As such, the handbook provides an important and definitive reference text for all studying water governance and management.

The book may be purchased online, at https://www.routledge.com/Routledge-Handbook-of-Water-Law-and-Policy/Rieu-Clarke-Allan-Hendry/p/book/9781138121201

Publication of interest: Rules, Norms and NGO Advocacy Strategies - Hydropower Development in the Mekong River, by Yumiko Yasuda, Earthscan Studies in Water Resources Management, Routledge, UK, 2015

There is much controversy over the development of new dams for hydropower, where concerns for environmental protection and the livelihoods of local people may conflict with the goals of economic development. This book analyses the opportunities and barriers that NGOs and civil society actors face when conducting advocacy campaigns against such developments. In particular, it compares the strategies of two NGO coalitions advocating against the Xayaburi hydropower dam on the Mekong River, namely the Vietnam Rivers  Network and the Rivers Coalition in Cambodia, and examines the manner in which formal and informal rules influence these strategies. The book may be purchased online at https://www.routledge.com/Rules-Norms-and-NGO-Advocacy-Strategies-Hydropower-Development-on-the/Yasuda/p/book/9781138920293.

OECD Water Governance Programme Co-ordinator: Vacancy announcement

The OECD is looking for an experienced staff to lead its Water Governance Programme, starting 1 September 2017. Candidates must be nationals of OECD member countries. The job description and instructions for applying may be found at: https://oecd.taleo.net/careersection/ext/jobdetail.ftl?lang=en&job=11432. The deadline for applications is 6 June 2017. 

OECD Internship Vacancy Announcement

OECD is looking for an Intern (stagiaire) to contribute to the activities of the team working on SDGs, Water and Local Public Services within the Regional Development Policy Division of the OECD, over the period 1 June – 31 December 2017. The selected candidate will support the Head of Unit and Policy Analysts with desk research, drafting, communication and event organisation in three areas in particular:  decentralised cooperation, sustainable development goals and water governance.

Applicants should have excellent drafting and oral skills in English, and be enrolled in a university degree, preferably a PhD or alternatively in 2nd year of Master in economics, public policy, social sciences or related disciplines. Knowledge of Spanish and French would be a comparative advantage.


Candidates should meet the following requirements:

-        Be citizens from an OECD member country

-        Be full time students in a discipline related to the above programme of work for the whole 6-month period (1 June – 31 December 2017)

-        Be enrolled within a university able to sign internship agreements with the OECD

The selected candidate will receive an allowance of 608.40 €/month, which cannot be cumulated with other paid jobs or consultancy duties. All other fees and costs (travel, accommodation, visa, etc.) are not covered by the OECD.

Interested candidates are invited to send a CV and cover letter by 26 April 2017 to Delphine.Clavreul@oecd.org.

Ramsar Convention - Call for proposals for legal services

The Ramsar Convention Secretariat is seeking a qualified consultant to provide legal advice and support the Secretary General, the Convention’s Bodies and subsidiary groups on a retainer basis. More specifically, the Legal Adviser is expected to:

- Provide legal and procedural advice and substantive support to the Secretariat in all phases of the preparation and running of the meetings of the Bodies of the Ramsar Convention and subsidiary working groups, as appropriate.

- Provide legal advice to the Secretariat, other Convention Bodies and subsidiary working groups, as appropriate, on the interpretation, application or amendment of the Ramsar Convention’s Rules of Procedure, resolutions, policies and guidelines.

- Advise and support the Secretary General in matters related to the Convention, including Rules of Procedure, decisions, resolutions, policies, guidelines and any other matter related to the functioning of the Convention and its subsidiary bodies that may be identified.

The full Call for Proposals for Legal Adviser may be viewed at  http://www.ramsar.org/sites/default/files/documents/library/call_proposals_legal_adviser_e.pdf.

All expressions of interest should be submitted by email, before 23 April 2017 5pm Swiss Time, to: ramsar@ramsar.org

OECD online database of water governance stories

To support the implementation of the OECD Principles on Water Governance adopted in June 2015, the OECD Water Governance Initiative is currently working toward an online database of water governance “stories” that can inspire governments and stakeholders move from vision to action. The database, to be launched at the 8th World Water Forum (Brasilia, March 2018), will gather concrete examples that illustrate the OECD Principles in local, regional, basin, national or international contexts. Such practices can share success stories, but also lessons learned from failed attempts, in any OECD member or non-member country. They can be submitted by any government or stakeholder group and will be subject to the selection process and peer-review mechanism described in the enclosed template. To take part in this initiative, you are invited to share your water governance story by filling in the online template, to be found at http://www.oecd.org/gov/regional-policy/What-is-Your-Water-Governance-Story-FORM.pdf, by 15 May 2017.

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