Journal article on the comparative content analysis of international water treaties
Abstract: Conflict resolution mechanisms (CRM) have long been recognized as essential constituting elements of transboundary agreements. Yet, earlier content studies confirm that such mechanisms are either absent, incomplete or unsophisticated. Therefore we assume that the negotiation and adoption of CRM is associated with a transaction cost. Also, we expect these costs to be affected by a number of contextual and climate‐related variables, which operate either to stimulate or obstruct the adoption of CRM. Reading and coding the treaties of the Transboundary Freshwater Dispute Database allowed for a statistical analysis and verification of a series of hypothesized correlations.
This research shows that the adoption of conflict resolution, as an important tool for transboundary cooperation, is indeed not random and comes at a certain expense. Both contextual and climate‐related variables affect these costs significantly. While trust between states, water stress and dependency upon external water resources support CRM adoption; political freedom, asymmetry in political freedom and having colonial powers as signatories to a treaty, obstruct CRM adoption. Once the perceived benefits of adopting CRM outweigh the costs, a pattern of path dependence emerges and the likelihood increases that parties will negotiate a higher number of CRM, a greater variety of mechanisms, including both soft and hard law, and more mature mechanisms. The effect of hydrological variability, adaptive capacity and the number of signatories, remains largely ignored by negotiators when considering the transaction costs of transboundary water negotiations.
Dealing with climate uncertainty in international water treaties
Abstract:While reaching consensus in international treaties is critical, the key stumbling block of both properly delineating and accounting for uncertainty must first be overcome.