Prof. Eckstein Lectures in UN-EU Seminar

November 10, 2016

Gabriel EcksteinTexas A&M University School of Law Professor Gabriel Eckstein shared his expertise on current issues regarding transboundary groundwater resources at the offices of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations on Oct. 17, 2016, in New York City.

He discussed the management, allocation and regulation of transboundary aquifers. He referred to the International Law Commission’s 2008 “Draft Articles on the Law of Transboundary Aquifers,” which he helped draft, to emphasize the need to encourage cooperation over these critical shared resources.

Eckstein UN EUHe said the articles are “flexible mechanisms for cooperation designed to discourage conflict and encourage collaboration among states.”

“These articles will provide guidance for bilateral and regional agreements for the proper management of transboundary aquifers,” Eckstein said in a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) article. “Additionally, they can serve as a framework for developing locally-specific agreements by filling the gaps in the existing international environmental and natural resources legal regimes.”

The draft articles are currently being considered by the U.N. General Assembly and its legal committee.

Eckstein UNESCO“It was really was an honor to help educate these decision-makers on the importance of groundwater, how much we rely on this hidden resource for our daily necessities, and the fact that so many of our aquifers lay across international boundaries,” he said. “That last part makes management and allocation decisions particularly tricky, hence the need for legal and policy mechanisms that encourage cooperation.”

The Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union, UNESCO and the European Union invited Eckstein to present.

For the past decade, he has served a water law and policy advisor and consultant for UNESCO, participating on expert panels, organizing and running training workshops, writing reports and manuals, and representing UNESCO at water-related conferences.