The 22nd of March marks World Water Day, and this year the focus will be on accelerating change to solve the water and sanitation crisis. On the same day, in New York, the United Nations will kick off the work of the UN Water Conference 2023, the first in nearly 50 years, a summit that is expected to lead to a global water agenda. However, while there is already talk of a "Paris moment" for water resources-with expectations of an outcome comparable in climate action to the Paris Agreement-there is another issue that is also a focus of the conference: water cooperation.
As the world faces an impending water crisis, with demand for freshwater expected to exceed supply by 40 percent by the end of this decade, transboundary management of the blue gold can no longer be postponed. Indeed, transboundary waters account for 60 percent of the world's freshwater flows, and collaborating, after all, means giving each other common rules. So, to understand what role law plays in this challenge, Renewable Matter interviewed Gabriel Eckstein, a geologist and lawyer, professor at Texas A&M University School of Law, former president of the International Water Resources Association (IWRA) as well as an advisor to numerous national and intergovernmental organizations, including the US Agency for International Development, the World Bank, the United Nations International Law Commission, FAO and UNESCO.