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International Law and Domestic Legislation in Sustainable Management of Transboundary Watercourses

Kofele-Kale, Ndiva and Gonzaga, Fausto Mendanha, International Law and Domestic Legislation in the Sustainable Management of Transboundary Watercourses: The Case of the Amazon River Basin (2011). Journal of Environmental Law & Litigation, Vol. 26, No. 1, 2011; SMU Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 235. Available for download at SSRN:

“The Article explores the intersection between positive international law and domestic legislation in the protection and management of transboundary water resources, with particular focus on the Brazilian Amazon. Given the global importance of the Amazon Basin and the growing threats to its fragile ecosystem-which to date has been relatively unaffected by human settlement, the need for a comprehensive legal regime to guide the development and management of this shared watercourse cannot be overstated. Because well over half of the Amazon Basin is in Brazil, much of the international spotlight on the exploitation of the Amazon’s natural resources has focused on Brazil. Of equal importance is Brazil’s legal approach to protecting and sustainably managing this transboundary basin. The latter issue raises the following question: With respect to the protection and management of the land and water resources of the Amazon Basin, what law should apply-Brazil’s or international law? Will a regional framework of laws conceived by all the states that share the Amazon suffice, or must it only be positive international law?”

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