It is my pleasure to present ELP's new publication on “Shared Resources: Issues of Governance”. This publication explores the range of transboundary governance structures that are in place to address shared resources and the environmental impacts on them.

As environmental impacts and effects know no boundaries, there has been an increasing recognition of the need for collective international action. This has led to the development of a range of instruments and tools to govern shared resources. In many cases, these instruments have overcome jurisdictional, policy and practical challenges to develop a framework for collaborative action to address regional environmental issues.

The publication contains a number of case studies that highlight different types of transboundary governance structures that address specific ecosystems. These case studies cover single ecosystems, such as the Antarctica, as well as shared watercourses under the jurisdiction of a number of States such as the projects in Southern Africa and Lake Chad, and fishery management issues from tuna management in the Pacific to the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem.

While each case study presents its own unique circumstances, some common themes and challenges emerge. For example the need for a holistic approach, effective application on environmental impact assessments and for precaution. There is also common recognition of the need for continuing political will to make those structures effective.

I am grateful to the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) who have made this publication possible. I would also like to express my gratitude to Sharelle Hart, former Legal Officer at the ELC, who was the initial editor of the publication and coordinator of the project. My thanks also go to Andrea Düppen, Legal Consultant, who finalized the editing process.

Alejandro Iza
Head, Environmental Law Programme
Director, Environmental Law Centre

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