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School of Law

Zaki S. Shubber

Zaki S.

PhD Student



Thesis Title

Dealing with uncertainty in shared water systems under international water law


Summary of research

The research examines how international law, and particularly international water law, deals with uncertainty in the context of shared freshwater resources.

Freshwater flowing above and below ground crosses international boundaries and becomes a resource shared between states. Cooperation between riparian States facilitates the management of such resources and treaties often provide the legal framework for that in addition to relevant norms of international water law, environmental law and other areas of international law. However, uncertainty is challenging traditional water resources management approaches and their legal frameworks. In a complex international environment, water availability is now subject to mounting uncertainty due to disrupted hydrological patterns and extreme weather events caused by climate change, an incomplete understanding of complex water systems as well as unpredictable stakeholder interactions. This uncertainty is threatening water security and consequently food, energy and environmental security.

The question addressed in the research is whether legal frameworks, and international law generally, being premised on stability and predictability adequately address uncertainty around transboundary waters.


Zaki S. Shubber is a PhD candidate at Queen Mary University of London. She is a lawyer and CEDR certified mediator who specialises in national and international water law, and in conflict resolution. She also has an interest in the international legal management of the Tigris and Euphrates. Zaki is a law graduate of the University of Geneva and has masters of law from the University of London (SOAS) in public international law and from the University of Dundee in water governance and conflict resolution. Prior to working in the water sector, Zaki practiced corporate, finance and aviation law in London and Geneva. She then worked as lecturer in law and water diplomacy at IHE Delft Institute for Water Education in The Netherlands where she taught and lectured on water law, water conflict management and water diplomacy.


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