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Watercourses Convention Provides Tools to Defuse International Water Conflict

Governed by the UN, the first global legal framework for freshwater resources that cross international borders is set to take effect in August, thanks to the final required ratification from Vietnam. In response, Karin Krchnak, director of WWF’s freshwater program, issued the following statement:

“This is a huge breakthrough for how countries manage shared freshwater resources. Nature and wildlife do not respect national borders, and some of the most crucial areas for biodiversity are linked to international rivers and lakes.

“The UN Watercourses Convention is coming into force at a particularly important time. Climate change is significantly impacting our freshwater resources, and we will see more volatile periods of droughts and floods, which will impact how countries approach their freshwater systems.

"We haven't yet seen large-scale conflict over water, but increasing population and climate change heighten the risk. The Convention provides a tangible framework to defuse conflict before it escalates, using dialogue and rule of law.

“Widespread ratification and implementation is in the best interest of both the environment and U.S. national security, to ensure that countries properly protect precious water supplies, now and in the future."

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