The resolution of international watercourse disputes: how should states approach the matter?
Disputes concerning international watercourses have been resolved in a variety of ways in the past. This paper builds upon the dispute resolution framework put forward in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses and state practice to develop a dispute resolution framework which will bring more efficient results for riparian states. This process emphasises the important role that fact finding can have in this context. Using this investigative process at an early stage in the dispute resolution process helps to reduce the areas of conflict between the states and provides a platform to encourage negotiations. The framework outlined also allows for recourse to negotiations, and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) or arbitration if a resolution cannot be found. Recourse to the ICJ and arbitral tribunals has been left to the final stage of the framework to reflect state practice in the area. If this style of dispute resolution framework is adopted by states it should allow for disputes to be resolved efficiently. In turn this is likely to increase the awareness and support for fact finding as an alternative means of dispute resolution in international relations more broadly.