State Succession in Int’l Transboundary Water Obligations: South Sudan … 101
South Sudan by referendum, which was conducted on January 2011.3 This led to
the birth of the youngest African state.4 As South Sudan seceded from Sudan, it
has become the 11th riparian state5 of the Nile Basin.6 It is located downstream
of the Nile Equatorial Lakes region and has strong connections to the Eastern
Nile.7 With the emergence of South Sudan, international law issues8 are bound
to arise9 and the question of state succession is expected to ensue. The author
believes that greater attention will be paid to the impact of the birth of South
Sudan that will have a potential impact on the Nile legal regime. 10
The scope of the article does not allow detailed analysis of issues on state
succession situations, including the political factor which could lead the
different states to different political decisions regarding the Ni le water
agreement. It is sufficient for our purposes to limit the scope of the study to the
legal state succession scenarios of South Sudan to the 1929 and 1959 Nile water
Agreements. It is to be noted that the issue of state succession and the political
development of South Sudan are very dynamic and it is often influenced by non-
legal issues. As result, this article cannot claim to be exhaustive.
Various studies have been made on state succession and majority of them
focus on impact of succession in the former Soviet bloc, impact of
decolonization in the new states of Africa after decolonization and its impact on
territorial obligation, debt liabilities, state responsibility and the like. However,
article , South Sudan has neither signed nor en tered into any agreement, whether pre-or
post- independence, concerning its use of Nile.
3 See, South Sudan’s Flag Raised at Independe nce Ceremony, BBC NEWS (July, 2011),
5 Riparian means “ of, relating to, or located on the banks of a river or a stream.” Blacks
Law Dictionary 1141 (9th ed. 2009). A Riparian right is “the right of a landowner whose
property borders on a body of watercourse”. Id., at 1441.
6 The Nile riparian states are; Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt,
Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Eritrea, available at
http://www.nilebasin.org/ (Accessed 23/12/2015).
7 International Crisis Group (2006), Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement; the Long
Road Ahead, Africa Report, No 106, Nairobi, Kenya, 2006(a), p.10.
8 It shall be noted that South Sudan has entered international life at a time of uncertainty for
the Nile. The agreement and utilization of the Nile River is a fragmented legal regime
without an all-inclusive arrangement.
9 Brenthurst Foundation (2010), Everything at Zero, Beyond the Referendum – Drivers and
Choices for Development in Southern S udan, E Oppenheimer & Son Publishing Ltd,
Marshalltown, South Africa, 2010, PP.18 Online, Available HTTP,
<www.thebrenthurstfoundation.org,> (Accessed: 31/10/2010).
10 As the fledging new nation looks to the Nile as an indispensable natural resource in its
quest to achieve sustainable development, it will inevitably needs to consult with all its
co-riparian on waterworks that it plans to construct on the water course.