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Transboundary waters

The waters of a number of major rivers are shared between two or more countries in the developing world. In some cases, notably in the Indian sub-continent, the geographical basin includes not only more than one single national territory, but several autonomous states within one of the countries. Although the idea of the international river basin organisations (RBOs) enjoys the support of international organisations, particularly UN bodies, it has so far been greeted with only modest success. This is not surprising since a high degree of common purpose is required to reach agreement over the sharing of the waters of large international rivers. However, since this is a potential cause of conflict, notably in the Middle East, efforts to bring the various countries and states together to plan water resources development on a mutually agreed basis clearly need to be emphasised. An organisation – the International Network of River Basin Organisations (INBO) – exists to promote such mechanisms, which can become a catalyst for inter-state co-operation. (See also River Basin Organisations, and National and International Water Law.)

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