International Water Law and the Law of Transboundary Aquifers (distance learning course) (2022)

LocationGeneva, Lake Geneva region, Switzerland

The course provides professionals involved in negotiating or implementing treaties related to freshwater resources with the knowledge of the principles and norms that govern the use, sharing, management and protection of this exhaustible natural resource.

CHF 900.-

Full and partial scholarships are available for participants from non-OECD countries.

Professional from various backgrounds including law, international relations, hydrology, engineering or economics
Government official (diplomat, technical and scientific specialist working in transboundary water issues), international organisation staff, civil society representative, academic, and professional from the private sector

Explain the current legal developments in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals and contribute to the creation of instruments promoting equitable access and sustainable use of water resources

Principles of the Law on Transboundary Water Resources (Part I) (equitable and reasonable use, mechanisms to settle water disputes, etc.) (2 weeks from 24 October to 6 November)

Principles of the Law on Transboundary Water Resources (Part II) (public participation, human right to water, international humanitarian law, etc.) (1 week from 7 to 13 November)

Prof. Laurence BOISSON DE CHAZOURNES, Director of the Platform for International Water Law at the Geneva Water Hub, Faculty of Law, University of Geneva, Prof. Makane M. MBENGUE, Faculty of Law and Institute for Environmental Sciences, University of Geneva, and Member of the Platform for International Water Law at the Geneva Water Hub, Dr Mara TIGNINO, Reader and Coordinator of the Platform for International Water Law at the Geneva Water Hub, Faculty of Law, University of Geneva

The Course is implemented by the Geneva Water Hub in collaboration with DiploFoundation and receives the financial support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation

All modules comprise online assessment exercises and written assignments. The final exam is based on a simulation exercice on negotiation and the application of International Water Law principles.

Applicants must have a computer and a reliable internet connection for the programme duration.They must possess basic computer skills such as navigating the Internet and using Microsoft Word

Applicants must submit a CV and a motivation letter explaining why the knowledge of international waterlaw is relevant to their work and how it will be applied to carry out their professional duties

Full and partial scholarships are available for participants coming from non-OECD countries. Candidates asking for a partial or full scholarship have to explain the reasons for this request in their motivation letter.

The course includes 6 thematic modules each one lasting one or two weeks and a 7th module consisting in the resolution of a case study. 

The completion of the course corresponds to 4 ECTS credits equivalent to 120 learning and training hours.

A one-week module corresponds approximately to 12 hours of teaching and learning per week including audiovisual material and reading of legal texts and literature. Depending on the module, the participants will have between 3-4 hours of online activities (i.e. discussion forums, quiz, answers to case-studies, webinars, etc.) and an average of 8 hours of personal work (i.e. reading of legal texts and literature and preparation of online activities) per week. 

A two-week module includes an average of 24 hours of learning and teaching. 

The seventh module consists of about 10-12 hours of learning and teaching including the preparation of the final case study.

"The training used different participatory approaches such as webinar, assignments and quiz which tested factual knowledge and analytical perspective of the subject matter. The support afforded to me, both technical as well as the answers from the expert, was superb. Therefore, I have no hesitation in recommending the course to any person whatsoever."

Sarah Vranckx, Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation, Namibia.


"...this course is really helping me see things in a new light (...). I have learnt a lot and I am continuing to learn. I soon have to submit a memo to my director to show him the importance of IWL and the shortcomings of Togo in the domain."

Richard Barry, Directorate of Water Resources, Togo.


"I found the course invaluable. It gave me the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of a wide range of legal topics not only at a national level but also at a global scale. The provided materials and the interactive course design made easy to follow it. The moderator was always supportive and quickly replied to my questions"

Mohammad Daud Hamidi, MA Student in Integrated Water Resources Management, Afghanistan.


"All modules were interactive and included a comprehensive description of different legal instruments of selected types of issues that can occur between riparian stakeholders and those related to human security. The course has also helped me to understand better practical challenges of implementing international water law."

Martina Kilmes, Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), Sweden.


"I suspect that there is something in this course for everyone. Those who do not have a legal background will come away with a solid understanding of how lawyers view this issue and perhaps a better understanding of why some things work the way they do. Those who do have a legal background, will be interested to learn about some of the technical aspects of hydrology and will likely learn about the state of transboundary water in an area--either geographic or thematic--that they knew little about. I personally have a legal background in this subject, but was fascinated to learn about how the law that I knew was applied in regions of the world I had not studied on my own. The experience helped to broaden and deepen my knowledge of the field and I suspect this would be true for most people."

Cory Olishansky, Legal Officer, Oceans and Environmental Law Division, Global Affairs, Canada.

Les termes utilisés pour désigner des personnes sont pris au sens générique; ils ont à la fois la valeur d’un masculin et d’un féminin.

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