Is International Water Law Ready to Face Future Challenges?


This session focuses on the challenges international water law (IWL) is facing – from climate change to increasing pressure on water resources and from influences of other legal regimes to declining multilateralism – and discusses responses to those. It aims at identifying innovative ways that can reform IWL and ensure its resilience.

Session Description

The session starts with 2 key note speeches that set the scene for the discussion by introducing key challenges international water law faces and the implications this has for the sustainable management of shared water resources as well as cooperation between riparian states. This is followed by a panel discussion between international water law experts and water diplomats, jointly investigating which key challenges international water law is facing and why and how those can be addressed in order to maintain or enhance that commonly accepted principles guide countries’ behaviour over their shared water resources in a sustainable and cooperative manner.


11:00 – 11:10 Welcome remarks, Astrid Hillers (GEF)

11:10 – 11:25 Facing the water poly-crisis – Is international water law p to the challenge?, Susanne Schmeier (IHE Delft)

11:25 – 11:40 Adapting international water law – New concepts and approaches, Diego Jara (IUCN)

11:25 – 12:25 Panel discussion

  • Silvester Matemu (Nile Basin Initiative, NBI)
  • Phera Ramoeli (Permanent Okavango River Basin Water Commission, OKACOM)
  • Fleur Verhoef (Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and Water)
  • Sonja Köppel (Water Convention/UNECE)
  • Tanja Miškova (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia)
  • water law scholars (tbd)

12:25 – 12:30 Closing remarks


Global Environment Facility
IHE Delft Institute for Water Education
Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, The Netherlands
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe


Location: In-Person and Virtual

Date: Thursday, August 24, 2023