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UN Convention on Watercourses

Volume 473: debated on Monday 17 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development for what reasons the Government have not signed the UN Convention on Watercourses; and if he will make a statement. (194089)

The Department for International Development (DFID) has undertaken an analysis of the development benefits of UK accession to the UN Convention on the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses. DFID has also discussed this with other bilateral agencies and specialist water agencies, and sought views from other Government Departments to reach a joint conclusion. On the basis of the evidence available, the development benefits identified have not been shown to be significant. After 10 years only 16 countries have ratified or acceded to the convention. With 35 countries required there is little immediate prospect of it entering into force.

DFID recognises that the existence of the convention is helpful and its principles have been applied. DFID provides support to regional water initiatives in South Asia, the Nile Basin and the Middle East and is considering support in other shared waters. In none of the cases where we provide support is accession to the convention considered necessary.