International water allocation disputes have been a constant in the universe of international disputes, as is demonstrated by the suite of disputes selected herein. Today, the issues that led to these disputes and other environmental and natural resources threats, are more problematic than they were in the past, as a consequence of the persistent expansion of worldwide agriculture, industrialization and climate change – the latter resulting in droughts. See e.g., Glen Canyon and Lake Mead in Arizona and southern California. Economic expansion also accounts for an increased standard of living for many of the world’s poor. However, this growth has been accompanied by a concomitant need for greater access to potable water. In some regions of the world drinking water is simply not available. These two factors have had numerous negative effects on the environment, including overuse and pollution of water, increased pressure on natural resources – consisting of over-fishing, desertification, the destruction of forests and increased waste from mining – and at the same time a dramatic increase in the allocation of water.
It has been estimated that about five percent of the total biodiversity of the world can be found in P[apua] N[ew] G[uina] However, the physical environment is under increasing threat from a variety of factors such as certain agricultural practices (land clearing for commercial and traditional agriculture) as well as resource extraction projects such as mining and harvesting of timber. A large proportion of the total land area has now been modified by erosion . . .
It may be assumed that much unwarranted [forest] destruction remains undetected. ‘Destruction of residual tree crops and the unwarranted damaging of soils and saplings through large disturbance are some factors that will affect sustainability.’”)