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Helsinki rules

What are Helsinki rules?

 The Helsinki Rules on the Uses of the Waters of International Rivers is an international guideline regulating how rivers and their connected ground-waters that international boundaries.

When were the Helsinki Rules developed, and by whom?
  • Developed by the International Law Association (ILA) in 1966.
  • ILA is a non-governmental organization which promotes the study and development of international law.
  • The Helsinki Rules were later adopted by the ILA at its 52nd Conference in Helsinki, Finland, hence the name “Helsinki Rules.”
What is the purpose of the Helsinki Rules?
  • Provide guidance on fair and equitable use of international rivers, particularly those that flow through multiple countries.
  • Provide guidance on issues such as the protection of ecosystems, the prevention of pollution, and the resolution of disputes between countries.
How do the Helsinki Rules address the prevention of pollution in international rivers?
  • Riparian states to cooperate with each other to protect and preserve the international river environment.
  • Each riparian state has a duty to prevent pollution of the international river from any source within Emphasize its territory.
  • The importance of the precautionary principle in the prevention of pollution.
  •  Principle requires that in cases where there is a potential risk of serious or irreversible damage to the international river environment, riparian states should take precautionary measures to prevent such damage.
How does the Helsinki Rules be used to help resolve disputes between countries over the use of international rivers?
  • Providing a framework for cooperation:
  • Establishing principles for equitable and reasonable use
  • Providing guidelines for dispute resolution procedures: The Helsinki Rules provide guidelines for dispute resolution procedures
  • These guidelines include referring the dispute to an impartial third party for resolution, such as an arbitral tribunal.
  •  The Helsinki Rules also provide principles for determining the allocation of costs related to dispute resolution.
  • Offering a precedent for resolution:  For example, the rules were used as a basis for the negotiation of the Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan in 1960, which resolved longstanding disputes over the use of the Indus River.

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