The role of valuation and bargaining in optimising transboundary watercourse treaty regimes

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5 Citations (Scopus)


In the face of water scarcity, growing water demands, population increase, ecosystem degradation, or climate change, transboundary watercourse states inevitably have to make difficult decisions on how finite quantities of water are distributed. Such waters, and their associated ecosystem services, offer multiple benefits. Valuation and bargaining can play a key role in the sharing of these ecosystems services and their associated benefits across sovereign borders. Ecosystem services in transboundary watercourses essentially constitute a portfolio of assets. While challenging, their commodification, which creates property rights, supports trading. Such trading offers a means by which to resolve conflicts over competing uses and allows states to optimise their ‘portfolios’. However, despite this potential, adoption of appropriate treaty frameworks that might facilitate a market-based approach to the discovery and allocation of water-related ecosystem services at the transboundary level remains both a challenge and a topic worthy of further study. Drawing upon concepts in law and economics, this paper therefore seeks to advance the study of how treaty frameworks might be developed in a way that supports such a market-based approach to ecosystem services and transboundary waters.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-428
JournalInternational Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics
Issue number3
Early online date18 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


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