The African Union’s Role in the Governance of Offshore Freshwater Aquifers

In: The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law
Nicholas N. Kimani Department of Law, Faculty of Commerce, Administration and Law, University of Zululand Kwa-Dlangezwa South Africa

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Scientific insights have revealed the existence of undersea freshwater aquifers off the coasts of some African States and elsewhere, which present possibilities for exploitation. The question arises as to whether, or to what extent, the formal governance structures of the African Union (au) and its relevant maritime strategic frameworks adequately provide for their regulatory oversight. The study highlights relevant provisions of the Constitutive Act of the African Union and its related protocols, as well as the 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy. While the au could facilitate the development of pan-African governing arrangements, important legal issues remain outstanding in relation to the applicable judicial mechanism, operationalizing agreed courses of action, facilitating access to technology, implementing appropriate environmental safeguards and clarifying landlocked States’ rights. Suggestions are also made for further study. Addressing these issues could greatly facilitate efforts to design and optimise governing arrangements for the benefit of future generations.

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