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Alistair Rieu-Clarke

Chair of Law

Department: Northumbria Law School

His interests focus on the role and relevance of international law vis-a-vis shared natural resources.  In examining the relevance of law, and international law in particular, he engages across a range of physical and social sciences. Alistair’s work is mostly focused within a developing country context where he has collaborated with a wide range of stakeholders (government, civil society and scientists) at multiple levels to better understand the contribution of law to the equitable and sustainable development of transboundary rivers, lakes and aquifers.   

Campus Address

Room 343, City Campus East
School of Law, Northumbria University

+44 (0)191 227 3027


PhD in International Law, Transboundary Watercourses and Sustainable Development

LLM in Natural Resources Law and Policy (with Distinction)

LLB (Hons)

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

Alistair’s research interests focus on the role and relevance of law in fostering transboundary water cooperation and preventing conflict.  In examining the relevance of law, and international law in particular, he engages across a range of physical and social sciences.  

By drawing upon international law, economics and international relations theory Alistair has sought to explore the factors that influence the implementation of, and State compliance with, treaty arrangements relating to shared natural resources and the protection of the environment.

A further feature of Alistair’s research is to explore the intersection between different branches of international law, including public international law (water and environmental law), international investment law, and human rights law.

Alistair’s work is mostly focused within a developing country context where he has engaged with a wide range of stakeholders (government, civil society and scientists) to better understand the contribution of law to the equitable and sustainable management of transboundary rivers, lakes and aquifers.    


PGR Supervision

Hydropower Developments on International Rivers – exploring critical intersections between multiple legal regimes, scales and actors (2017-), Northumbria Law School

Panithan Thempetch, Notification and Prior Consultation Procedures and the Mekong River Basin (2016-), Northumbria Law School

Juan Carlos Sanchez, An Ecosystem Approach to Transboundary Water Governance (2014-). University of Dundee, External Supervisor.

Eléornore Belemlilga, Publication Participation in the Volta Basin (2016-). University of Dundee, External Examiner.

Malebo Matala, The Governance of Transboundary Aquifers in Southern Africa, Department of Environmental Science (2015-), University of South Africa, External Supervisor

Josefin Gooch, An Interpretative Approach Towards Implementing Environmental Flows at the Transboundary Level (2011-2016), Faculty of Law, University of Lund, External Supervisor

Yumiko Yasuda, Rules, Norms and NGO Advocacy Strategies – Hydropower Development in the Mekong River (2010-2014), University of Dundee. Published by Routledge, 2015

Bjørn-Oliver Magsig, International Water Law and the Quest for Common Security (2008-2012). University of Dundee. Published by Routledge, 2015

Dinara Ziganshina, Promoting Transboundary Water Security in the Aral Sea Basin through International Law (2008-2012).  University of Dundee. Published by Brill, 2014.

Yadgar Kamal Ahmmad, The Legal Regime Relating to the Tigris-Euphrates River Basin (2005-2010), University of Dundee.  

Professional Activity


  • Member, International Water Resources Association
  • Member, IUCN Commission of Environmental Law
  • Member, International Association of Water Law
  • Member and Mid-term Planning Committee, Universities Partnership on Transboundary Waters 
  • UK National Commission for UNESCO, Expert Group on Category II Centres Mapping, 2014
  • Member of NERC Review Panel for NERC, ESRC and DFID research programme, Unlocking the Potential for Groundwater in Sub-saharan Africa, March 2013
  • The Hague Group, Expert Group of State Parties to UN Watercourses Convention and UNECE Water Convention and recognised non-governmental specialists (2014-2016)
  • Invited expert, UN Environment Programme Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-4)
  • Invited expert, UNESCO Hydrology for the Environment, Live and Policy (HELP) –four person interdisciplinary HELP evaluation committee convened to assess proposals for international river basins wishing to joint the HELP program (2010)


International Events

  •  Arab Water Under Occupation, League of Arab States, Cairo, Egypt, 25-27, October 2016 
  • Roundtable on the Two Water Conventions, Geneva Water Hub and High Level Panel on Water and Peace, University of Geneva, Switzerland, 24 October 2016.
  • River basin organisations and the benefits of transboundary water cooperation, Official session at Africa World Water Week, 18-22 July 2016: Co-organiser with UN Economic Commission for Europe, WWF, Green Cross International, Global Water Partnership, IUCN and African Network of Basin Organisations 
  • Integrating Environment and Human Rights Protection, Lumsa University, 29th April 2016: Keynote speaker and panelist, Environmental Protection, Human Rights and the UN Watercourses Convention
  • Legal Adjudication and Ecosystem Services, University of Dundee, 12th April 2016: Co-organiser, with Prof Colin Reid and Prof Christopher Spray (Dundee), of international workshop sponsored by Centre for Environmental Change and Human Resilience and Scottish Environmental Protection Agency
  • Water & Sustainability: A Hydro Nation Approach, Dundee, 22nd March, 2016: Co-organiser and Panelist for World Water Day workshop in collaboration with Scottish Government and University of Strathclyde. 
  • 7th Meeting of the Parties to the UNECE Water Convention, 17-19th November 2016: Side-event panelist, The UN Watercourses Convention – Next steps
  • Informal gathering of the parties to the 1997 UN Watercourses Convention, UNESCO, Paris, September 2015: Keynote speaker, The UN Watercourses Convention and the User’s Guide
  • UNESCO Water Centres and Chairs – A Vision to the 2030 Agenda, UNESCO, Paris, December 2015: Presentation on the need to integrate law, policy and science to support Sustainable Development Goal 6.5
  •  COP21, Water and Climate Day, Le Bourget, 2 December 2015: Presentation on Climate change adaptation and transboundary water governance


Practitioner-orientated training workshops

  • UNESCO Technical and Legal Principles and Concepts of Transboundary Waters, 5-7 November 2016, Yazd-IR, Iran 
  • UNECE From Practitioner to practitioner: training on how to use the two global conventions workshop, 20-21 October 2016, Geneva, Switzerland 
  • Regional Workshop on General Principles of Transboundary Water Cooperation, 3-4th October 2016, Campeche, Mexico 
  • Eastern Nile Media Training on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, 27-29th July, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • 4th Regional Technical Workshop on the integrated assessment of the Stampriet Transboundary Aquifer System, 5-8 May 2015, Gaborone, Botswana 
  • Workshop on the UNECE Water Convention: Key aspects and opportunities for Lebanon, Beirut, Feb 2015.
  • National workshop on Frameworks for Transboundary Water Cooperation: Focus on the UNECE Water Convention, Amman, Jordan, March 2015. 

Current/Recent Projects

Lessons Learnt from the Implementation of the Procedures for Notification, Prior Consultation and Agreement (PNPCA) and Guidelines, Mekong River Commission and GIZ, 2016, Consultant

Deltas Vulnerability and Climate Change: Migration and Adaptation (DECCMA), International Development Research Centre, Canada (IDRC), 2014, Co-investigator

Assessing Health, Livelihoods, Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation in Populous Deltas, Natural Environment Research Council. Economic and Social Research Council and UK Department for International Development, 2012, Co-investigator

Climate Change Governance Capacity: Building Regionally- and Nationally-tailored Ecosystem-based Adaptation in Mesoamerica, IUCN, 2012, Principal Investigator

UN Watercourses Convention Global Initiative, WWF and Norwegian Government, 2010, Principal Investigator

Sustainable Livelihoods and Biodiversity in Developing Countries (LiveDiverse), European Research Programme, 2008, Principal Investigator

Key Publications

Rieu-Clarke, A, Allan, A. & Hendry S. (eds), Handbook on Water Law and Policy (Routledge 2017)

Tanzi, A, McIntyre, O, Kolliopolos A, Kinna R and Rieu-Clarke, A, (eds), The UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes : Its contribution to international water cooperation (Brill 2014)

Rieu-Clarke A, Moynihan R and Magsig B, The UN Watercourses Convention – A User’s Guide (CWLPS 2012)

RIeu-Clarke, A., ‘Notification and Consultation Procedures under the Mekong Agreement: Insights from the Xayaburi Controversy’, 5 Asian Journal of International Law 143 (2015).

Rieu-Clarke, A., ‘Transboundary Hydropower Projects Seen Through the Lens of Three International Legal Regimes: Foreign Investment, Environmental Protection and Human Rights’, 3(1) International Journal of Water Governance (2015). 

Rieu-Clarke, A. & Kinna, R., ‘Can Two Global UN Water Conventions Effectively Co-exist? Making the Case for a ‘Package Approach’ to Support Institutional Co-ordination’, 23 Review of European Community and International Environmental Law 15 (2014)


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