McCaffrey Awarded Stockholm Water Prize

Professor Stephen McCaffrey (left) being awarded the Stockholm Water Prize by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden (

Stockholm (NordSIP) – U.S. Professor Stephen McCaffrey, Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, California and arguably the most respected international authority on international water law, was awarded the prestigious Stockholm Water Prize last week (August 30) at the Stockholm City Hall as part of World Water Week, the annual focal point of global water issues hosted and organised by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI).

The Stockholm Water Prize is an international award presented annually since 1991 by the Stockholm Water Foundation to honour outstanding achievements in the sustainable use and protection of the world’s water resources and the improved well-being of the planet’s inhabitants and ecosystems. In its citation, the Stockholm Water Prize Nominating Committee recognized Professor McCaffrey’s “path-breaking leadership and legal scholarship in international water law.”

Professor McCaffrey’s work, which includes his book The Law of International Watercourses, has influenced countless scholars, legal practitioners and policy makers in the areas of sustainable management of shared waters and the evolution of international water law. McCaffrey also acts as legal counsel to states in negotiations pertaining to international watercourses and as counsel in numerous inter-state disputes over shared resources. His mediation has been sought in disputes e.g. between Argentina and Uruguay, Pakistan and India, and Slovakia and Hungary heard by international courts and tribunals.

Professor McCaffrey received his prize from His Majesty Carl XVI Gustaf, the King of Sweden and official patron of the prize, during a ceremony and Royal Banquet. “I accept this very special award not only on my own behalf, but also on the behalf of the many women and men who work so hard in the field to ensure that fresh water can be brought to people in ways that do not strain international relations, but which in fact affirmatively produce win-win solutions for countries and people on the ground in accordance with law,” McCaffrey said upon receiving the prize.

“Professor McCaffrey is an internationally respected pioneer in the water law and in diplomacy. Today’s international lawyers stand on his shoulders,” said Dr Letitia Obeng of the Water Prize Nominating Committee. Added SIWI Executive Director Torgny Holmgren: “Cooperation over shared waters is becoming increasingly important, as we witness higher demand coupled with growing scarcity. Stephen McCaffrey is a true inspiration for us in this area, as well as an important guide, through his works and his wisdom.”

With almost 40% of the global population living in countries that share river basins and increasing stress on water resources, there is a need for a reasonable and equitable use of trans-boundary waters through improved management that would reduce the potential for conflict, foster socio-economic development, promote shared benefits and support healthy ecosystems and services. SIWI’s areas of priority include Cooperation Over Shared Waters, Informed International Policy, Improved Water Governance and cross-cutting issues such as sustainability, gender, poverty reduction and democracy (see more here).

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