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Faculty Publications

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Article - China and the Global Water Conventions in Light of Recent Developments: Time to take a second look?

date:2020-11-17clicks:

David J DEVLAEMINCK (Lecturer) and HUANG Xisheng (Dean and Professor) published an article China and the Global Water Conventions in Light of Recent Developments: Time to take a second look? in Review of European, Comparative and International Environmental Law.


Abstract: China is an important yet often misunderstood upstream neighbour on many transboundary watercourses. In 1997, after participating in the drafting process of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Non‐navigational Uses of International Watercourses, China, along with Burundi and Turkey, voted against the Convention. Since that time, however, both China’s practice and the law of international watercourses have evolved. In explanation of its vote, China provided four reasons including a lack of general agreement, that the Convention did not recognize sovereignty, that select provisions were imbalanced and disagreement regarding mandatory dispute settlement mechanisms. This article aims to revisit these reasons in light of recent developments and our current understanding of Chinese practice and international water law, asking the question: is it time for China to take a second look? Although China’s vote concerned the Watercourses Convention, given their complementarity, this article will discuss these reasons in relation to both global water conventions, the 1997 Watercourses Convention and the 1992 Water Convention.


Devlaeminck, DJ & Huang, X (2020). China and the Global Water Conventions in Light of Recent Developments: Time to take a second look?, Review of European, Comparative and International Environmental Law (SSCI). Available here: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/reel.12363



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