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Professor McCaffrey wins 2017 Stockholm Water Prize

Image source: SIWI

New Delhi : Professor Stephen McCaffrey, Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, in Sacramento, California has been named the 2017 Stockholm Water Prize laureate on the occasion of the World Water Day.

Professor McCaffrey, who had also acted as legal counsel in the India-Pakistan water dispute, will receive the prize for his unparalleled contribution to the evolution and progressive realization of international water law.

The Stockholm Water Prize Nominating Committee said he has made a unique contribution in three specific areas: his seminal work on Treaty negotiation; his major scholarly works, including his book - The Law of International Watercourses and; his leadership providing expert legal advice, wise counsel, training and facilitation of complex negotiations with a wide range of stakeholders.

Professor McCaffrey has been acting as legal counsel to many states in several negotiations concerning international watercourses. He has served as counsel in many inter-state disputes over shared water resources, including between Argentina and Uruguay and Slovakia and Hungary, which have been heard by international courts and tribunals.

He has guided some multi-year negotiation processes among riparian countries with respect to transboundary water law. Some examples include negotiations on the Nile, Mekong, and Ganga. Some negotiations even involved numerous countries.

Although he has experienced first-hand the potential conflict over freshwater resources, he remains an optimist, pointing to studies that have shown that shared fresh water is generally a catalyst for cooperation rather than conflict.

“McCaffrey’s effective diplomacy during the years he served as UN Special Rapporteur for the International Law Commission resulted in the 1997 adoption of the draft articles of the UN Convention on the Law of Non-navigational Use of International Watercourses, which embody principles that are the basis for adjudicating international water disputes today and planning for long-term management for countries that share international waters” the Stockholm Water Prize Nominating Committee said in a statement.

“I believe nobody who studies, researches or practises in the field of transboundary water management, water law or diplomacy could be unaware of Professor McCaffrey’s contribution to the conceptual and practical elaboration of the many legal concepts and principles that we now take for granted,” said SIWI Executive Director Torgny Holmgren.

On receiving news of the prize, Professor McCaffrey said he was deeply honoured and humbled to have been selected for the prestigious award. "But one also stands on the shoulders of others, and I am most grateful to those who have paved the way for me.”

“I am happy to have taken the first tentative steps toward the development of the human right to water. One of the international community’s most critical challenges during the 21st century will be implementing this right, both in developing and developed countries,” said McCaffrey.

Professor McCaffrey will be given the prize on August 30, during the 2017 World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden.

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