2nd International Conference on Transboundary Aquifers (ISARM 2021), Paris, 6-8 December, 2021

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in partnership with the International Association of Hydrologists (IAH) and GEF-IW:LEARN, in coordination with UNECE for SDG 6 indicator 6.5.2 conference component and in contribution to the UN Global Acceleration Framework,  will hold the 2nd International Conference on Transboundary Aquifers (ISARM 2021) in Paris, France on 6-8 December, 2021.

Transboundary aquifers are not only a source of freshwater to societies, but they also represent a geographic, economic, and geopolitical space. While nations establish their limits by political boundaries, aquifers are delimited by their hydrogeological dynamics; understanding them and defining their boundaries is a challenge due to the intricate physicochemical processes to which they are exposed and the available information and characterization. Furthermore, transboundary aquifers are a complex subject to apprehend due to the sociopolitical and territorial interactions that stir up in them.

Transboundary aquifer management is a challenge, particularly when addressing governance issues. In the light of the Agenda 2030 and the new development framework, there is clear evidence that institutional strengthening on transboundary aquifers management is needed. Besides, there is an absence of clear legal guidance on this subject within existing environmental and transboundary river basin agreements.

This conference aims to be an opportunity for showcasing diverse efforts made by UNESCO and the international community  to streamline groundwater as an enabler for achieving the water-related SDGs.

The conference objectives are:

  • to provide an opportunity to present an updated overview of the world inventory of transboundary aquifers, as the most recent UNESCO world map of transboundary aquifers was published in 2015;
  • to bring together transboundary aquifer management experts to discuss concepts and approaches for sound management within various contexts, in both developed and developing countries;
  • to exchange ideas for new directions in transboundary aquifer management, as well as recommend new strategies and implementation tools;
  • to consider the contribution of international law principles to the sustainable management of transboundary aquifers and dependent ecosystems as well as to evaluate the legal and institutional advances/issues arising from modern practices of formal/informal agreements between countries;
  • to emphasize on efforts and show the progress achieved with regard to transboundary aquifer cooperation within the framework of tracking SDG indicator 6.5.2 through its first and second reporting cycles;
  • to support the development of educational initiatives on transboundary water cooperation and develop sustainable practices and guidance tools on shared water resources management and negotiations.

Further information may be retrieved at: https://en.unesco.org/conference/isarm2021