Sino-RussianTransboundary Rivers: a legal perspective on cooperation

Sergei Vinogradov, Patricia Wouters

    Research output: Working paper/PreprintDiscussion paper


    Water security has become a new global and regional challenge. Control over
    increasingly scarce water resources, especially those that cross international
    borders, has the potential to cause tensions and conflicts between states sharing them. In order to prevent such conflicts it is important to strike a balance between the competing interests of different states sharing an international watercourse, while also taking into account environmental requirements. This objective can be achieved only through interstate cooperation, with appropriate legal and institutional frameworks forming the core of such.
    Rapid economic development in Northeast Asia has already put under serious pressure available water resources, including those belonging to some major transboundary river basins, shared by China and Russia. The Amur River in particular, the longest boundary watercourse in the world, has for years served as a focal point of bilateral cooperation between the two powerful neighbors, ranging from navigation, fisheries, and power generation to water resource utilization and ecosystem protection. While Sino-Russian interaction related to the management and use of transboundary water resources has experienced ups and downs, generally in accordance with political relations between the two states, over the last few years water-related cooperation has become increasingly active. Accordingly, the latter is governed by various international legal instruments, bilateral and multilateral, and is carried out under the auspices of different joint institutions.
    The purpose of this paper is to analyze the existing legal and institutional
    frameworks, which form the basis of the Sino-Russian cooperation in this
    field, and to determine whether and to what extent they are adequate in dealing with new water security challenges facing the two states.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationStockholm
    PublisherThe Institute for Security and Development Policy
    Number of pages97
    ISBN (Print)9789186635718
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

    Publication series

    NameStockholm Papers
    PublisherInstitute for Security and Development Policy


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