Improving Public Participation and Governance in International Watershed Management

Venue: University of Virginia School of Law

Location: Charlottesville, Virginia, United States

Event Date/Time: Apr 18, 2003 End Date/Time: Apr 19, 2003
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“Improving Public Participation and Governance in International Watershed Management”

To be held April 18-19, 2003 at the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, Virginia

The symposium will be convened by:
- University of Virginia School of Law
- Environmental Law Institute
- United Nations University
- United Nations Environment Programme
- U.S. Department of State
- America’s Clean Water Foundation

Clean water is essential to human survival, yet it is increasingly scarce. Despite pressures on this crucial resource, people often have little or no opportunity to participate in watershed decisions that affect them, particularly when they live along international watercourses. The United Nations recently identified the rising demand for water as one of four major factors that will threaten human and ecological health for at least a generation. Over the coming decade, governments throughout the world will struggle to manage water in ways that are efficient, equitable and environmentally sound. Whether these efforts succeed may turn, in large part, on providing the public with a voice in watershed management decisions that directly affect them. Public involvement holds the promise of improving the management of international watercourses and reducing the potential for conflict over water issues.

This symposium will bring together water managers, international lawyers, government officials, and other experts from around the world to discuss experiences in promoting effective public participation in the management of international watercourses. The discussions will highlight successful mechanisms for ensuring that people have access to information about watercourses and factors that could impact them; that people who may be affected have the opportunity to participate in decisions regarding the watercourse; and that people can seek redress when they are impacted by activities in an international watercourse. Please join us in examining:

- Lessons for involving the public in managing transboundary watercourses around the world (including some relevant sub-national experiences);

- Tools for promoting access to information and public participation in international watershed management; and

- Public involvement in international watershed projects supported by international financial institutions.

This symposium will seek to identify successful mechanisms, approaches, and practices for promoting public involvement in international watershed management. It will also examine conditions that facilitate or hinder public involvement, as well as contextual factors that may limit transference of experiences from one watershed to another.

For more information, please visit or contact Carl Bruch at or (202) 939-3240.


University of Virginia
United States