International Centre for Water Cooperation

Transboundary Water Cooperation

Cooperation over shared water resources is essential for securing water for future generations, and can in fact open new opportunities for riparian states to sustainably develop their common water resources. It can also assist decision-makers and practitioners at local, national and regional levels to reduce conflict and increase economic development and growth.

Tensions over shared water resources often influence national security priorities. They are also closely linked to a wider set of economic, social and geopolitical issues.

Water Diplomacy

Water diplomacy is a dynamic process that seeks to develop reasonable, sustainable and peaceful solutions to water allocation and management while promoting regional cooperation and collaboration. It enables countries to negotiate agreements on the allocation and management of internationally shared water resources.


Legal Frameworks

Sound legal frameworks at the global, regional and basin level, and effective and sustainable legal and institutional frameworks at the basin level (transboundary rivers and lake basins and/or aquifers) can also be conducive to stable and reliable cooperation, increasing security for competing uses and for preventing conflicts in shared basins.


The management of these vital resources faces many challenges, including the need for the regular exchange of data and information. Such an exchange is fundamental for establishing good cooperation between countries, whether for routine water resource operational management or for medium or long-term basin planning.

Benefit of Cooperation

Cooperation on transboundary waters often results in benefits reaching well beyond the water sector. Common to most country development agendas are goals to provide for sustainable development and improved livelihoods; water-, food- and energy security; and the need for healthy ecosystems and cooperation can increase benefits to basin countries.