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Despite Asia's large share of global water resources, and the importance of its water for sustaining one of the largest agrarian populations in the world, Asia's trans boundary water resource management regimes are poorly developed. There are only two working international regimes in South and South-east Asia: the Mekong and the Indus regimes. The remaining international watercourses in Asia are used by riparian countries in a self-interested manner, without much consideration for the interests of other states or for the environment. These national interests do not often represent the interests and needs of the local people.
This book is divided into three Parts.
Part I discusses the different contexts of law-making in the industrialized west and in agrarian societies in Asia, as well as the changing context of law-making following the emergence of the concept of sustainable development.
Part II discusses the regime of international watercourses.
Part III of the book presents two case studies in Asia: the Mekong and the Ganges. The main argument is that in the absence of public participation in decision-making and resource management, the basin states revert to using the watercourses according to the principles of the classical regime. The result, so far, has been unsustainable development, environmental degradation and growing poverty of local user communities.