Water Productivity
Water Use Survey
Nile DST
Nile Basin Database
GIS Information Products
Scenarios of Demand
Legal and Institution
Monitoring Network
Project Office:
P.O Box 521 Kampala
Email: info@faonile.org




- Increased awareness by decision makers with a technical background of the role of international water law in achieving collaborative ways to sharing a joint resource;
- Strengthened skills of decision makers in interest-based negotiation;
- Enhanced understanding of how customary law could support formal law in local dispute resolution.


There is broad consensus that sustained Nile Basin cooperation requires a permanent institution and agreement on core legal principles for management of transboundary waters. Two international conventions are concerned with fresh water:

- The Helsinki Convention (1992) on the protection and use of transboundary watercourses and international lakes;
- The UN Convention (1997) on the non-navigational uses of international water courses.

The international water law, embodied in these conventions, includes a list of considerations and some criteria according to which international waters are to be managed jointly by the riparians. However, these provide only a framework, and the specifics have to be worked out in each case by the parties.

History shows that riparian countries often emphasize their shared interests and choose collaborative ways to manage a shared resource. Agreement is reached through negotiation in which parties discuss possible outcomes directly with each other and search for win-win solutions. Interest-based negotiations shift the focus of the discussion from position to interests. Water managers involved in the negotiation process need to understand the legal aspects of managing a shared resource, and, more in particular, the role of international water law.

With growing stress on the scarce water resource due to ongoing population growth, national water departments will play an increasing role in dispute resolution and mediation at local and national level. Conflict resolution mechanisms can be strengthened by synthesizing traditional and customary practices with formal law. Building on indigenous practices could increase support for an allocation regime. Without being perceived as fair and equitable by local stakeholders, it is doubtful that an agreement can be implemented.

In implementing the legal and institutional component of the project, cooperation will be sought with other projects and programs under the umbrella of the NBI.

Workshop on Negotiation Skills

As a joint activity with the Shared Vision Program (SVP) Coordination Project, a workshop on negotiation skills was organized from 12 to 16 February 2006 in Bujumbura, Burundi. Emphasis was put on the negotiation approach developed by the Harvard Negotiation Project to focus on interests instead of positions.

A total of 38 individuals participated in the workshop, including the members of the project steering committee, the Nile Technical Advisory Committee (Nile TAC), and a number of legal advisors to the respective ministries responsible for water affairs in the 10 Nile Basin states.

Please visit the Events Archive for more information on the workshop.

emphasizing shared interests
training in negotiation skills