Research projects

Research Projects of the Platform

« Water, Private Companies and the Furtherance of the Public Good » (Pictet Charitable Foundation) et « Corporations’ Responsibilities in Water Management and Protection: the Path Towards Action » (Boninchi Foundation)

(February 2020 - )

Water is becoming a growing source of social, economic and political instability, exacerbated by climate change, which can lead to migration and conflict, undermining many goals of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development (Agenda 2030). Guided by the principle that “no one will be left behind”, the Agenda 2030 includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and outlines a universal agenda from 2015 to 2030. Along with governments, various actors have been involved in the development and the implementation strategies of the SDGs, including the business sector. The research project will focus on the existing global frameworks that may be used to promote good practices by the private sector in water management and protection.

For the list of all outputs, please consult the FNS page

Non-State Actors and the Management of International Freshwater Resources

Project supported by the Swiss National Research Fund (SNF): January 2012 – June 2014

Treaties on international water resources no longer regulate only State-to-State relations. Rather, individuals, communities, and non-governmental organizations — collectively referred to as “non-State actors”— have become subject of these instruments as well. The research pays attention to mechanisms open to individuals at the domestic and international levels, as well as to norms and practice concerning access to remedies for transboundary harm.

Outputs of this project include:
M. Tignino and K. Sangbana (eds.), Public Participation and Water Resources Management: Where Do We Stand in International Law? Proceedings of an International Conference held on 13 December 2013 in Geneva , International Hydrological Program – UNESO, Paris, 2015.

For the list of all outputs, please consult the FNS page

Governing Water: The Contribution of International Law to Cooperation on Transboundary Freshwater Resources

Project supported by the Swiss National Research Fund (SNF): October 2009 – November 2011

Future scenarios on the utilization and development of the Earth’s freshwater resources largely focus on the conflict potential inherent in competing demands over the resource, disregarding the opportunities for cooperation within the context of managing transboundary water systems. Investigating the many forms in which State cooperation manifests itself, the objective is to determine in what way international water law has developed in order to reinforce existing cooperation among riparian States of international water systems, and to create cooperation where not yet established.

Outputs of this project include :
L. Boisson de Chazournes, C. Leb and M. Tignino (eds.), International Law and Freshwater: the Multiple Challenges, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, 2013.
This publication is available as e-book.

For the list of all outputs, please consult the FNS page

Water Management and Protection: International Law Responses to the Challenges of Resource Scarcity

Project supported by the Boninchi Foundation: January 2009 – December 2010

The project analyzes legal aspects of water resources management and protection with respect to institutional and state practice which takes account of the increasing role of private sector operators. Special emphasis is put on enhancing management mechanisms that prove of critical value in addressing the new challenges posed by climate change, increasing pollution and competing claims over the world’s fresh water resources.

Outputs of this project include :
L. Boisson de Chazournes, C. Leb, M. Tignino, “Environmental protection and access to water: the challenges ahead”, in: M. van der Valk and P. Keenan (eds.), The right to water and water rights in a changing world , UNESCO-IHE Delft, 2011, pp. 9-24.

L. Boisson de Chazournes, M. Tignino, « Le règlement des différends internationaux relatifs à l'eau » in: L'eau et son droit, Etudes et documents du Conseil d'Etat, La documentation française, Paris, 2010, pp. 489-514.

For the list of all outputs, please consult the FORSbase

Fresh Water and International Economic Law

In cooperation with Georgetown University and with the support of the Carnegie Corporation: October 2002 – March 2005

The project on “Fresh Water and International Economic Law” focused on the relationship between fresh water, trade and investment law, and human rights. Two seminars were held within the framework of the project: the first on 29 October 2002, took place at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D. C.; the second was held in March 2003 at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. The results of these workshops were published in 2005: Freshwater and International Economic Law, edited by Edith Brown-Weiss, Laurence Boisson de Chazournes and Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder, published by Oxford University Press.

Geneva Water Hub