Skip to Main Content
Table 1.
Critical Milestones for the Water Taboo
Mechanism/YearMilestone
1st mechanism  
Instrumental adaption  
1950–53 Korean War, U.S. deceit around dam bombings in North Korea 
1965–75 Vietnam War, U.S. denial of alleged dike bombings in North Vietnam 
2nd mechanism  
Moral consciousness-raising  
1961 Resolution on the Use of International Non-Maritime Waters (Salzburg Resolution), Institut de Droit International, Salzburg 
1966 Helsinki Rules on the Uses of the Water of International Rivers, International Law Association Conference, Helsinki 
1972 Declaration of the UN Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm Declaration), Stockholm 
1972 UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim denounces alleged U.S. dike bombings in North Vietnam 
1974–75 U.S.-Soviet collaboration against environmental modification 
3rd mechanism  
Institutionalization  
1976 Madrid Resolution on the Protection of Water Resources and Water Installations in Times of Armed Conflict (Madrid Rules), International Law Association Conference, Madrid 
1976 Environmental Modification Convention 
1977 Geneva Conventions Additional Protocol I 
4th mechanism  
Norm grafting  
1977 UN Water Conference, Mar del Plata 
1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 
5th mechanism  
Internalization  
1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, UN Conference on Environment and Development (Earth Summit), Rio de Janeiro 
1992 UN Economic Commission for Europe Water Convention 
1997 UN Watercourses Convention 
2010 UN Resolution on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation 
2011–2016 Syrian Civil War, global reaction to water weaponization UN Security Council Debate on Water, Peace and Security 
2019 Geneva List of Principles on the Protection of Water Infrastructure 
2019 International Law Commission Draft Principles on the Protection of the Environment in Relation to Armed Conflicts 
Mechanism/YearMilestone
1st mechanism  
Instrumental adaption  
1950–53 Korean War, U.S. deceit around dam bombings in North Korea 
1965–75 Vietnam War, U.S. denial of alleged dike bombings in North Vietnam 
2nd mechanism  
Moral consciousness-raising  
1961 Resolution on the Use of International Non-Maritime Waters (Salzburg Resolution), Institut de Droit International, Salzburg 
1966 Helsinki Rules on the Uses of the Water of International Rivers, International Law Association Conference, Helsinki 
1972 Declaration of the UN Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm Declaration), Stockholm 
1972 UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim denounces alleged U.S. dike bombings in North Vietnam 
1974–75 U.S.-Soviet collaboration against environmental modification 
3rd mechanism  
Institutionalization  
1976 Madrid Resolution on the Protection of Water Resources and Water Installations in Times of Armed Conflict (Madrid Rules), International Law Association Conference, Madrid 
1976 Environmental Modification Convention 
1977 Geneva Conventions Additional Protocol I 
4th mechanism  
Norm grafting  
1977 UN Water Conference, Mar del Plata 
1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 
5th mechanism  
Internalization  
1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, UN Conference on Environment and Development (Earth Summit), Rio de Janeiro 
1992 UN Economic Commission for Europe Water Convention 
1997 UN Watercourses Convention 
2010 UN Resolution on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation 
2011–2016 Syrian Civil War, global reaction to water weaponization UN Security Council Debate on Water, Peace and Security 
2019 Geneva List of Principles on the Protection of Water Infrastructure 
2019 International Law Commission Draft Principles on the Protection of the Environment in Relation to Armed Conflicts 

NOTE: Other events were considered as potential milestones, from minor conflicts to the 2017 UN Security Council meeting on Preventive Diplomacy and Transboundary Waters. See UN Security Council, Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Preventive Diplomacy and Transboundary Waters, S/PV.7959 (June 6, 2017), https://www.securitycouncilreport.org/un-documents/document/spv7959.php. These events were omitted from the analysis where they were less influential for the taboo, and more relevant to transboundary water governance or water as a potential source rather than weapon of conflict.

Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal