Sharing the Himalayan Glaciers: The Role of Territorial Sovereignty

28 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2018

Date Written: Spring 2009


Mountain glaciers around the world are melting. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the World Glacier Monitoring Service both predict that the Andean and Himalayan glaciers, sources of freshwater for millions of people, will retreat irreversibly in the coming decades, forever releasing their savings accounts of freshwater. Glacial retreat portends significant global justice consequences: seventy-seven percent of the world’s freshwater resources is stored in ice — either in the polar ice caps or mountain glaciers. While the polar ice caps store most of the water, mountain glaciers nonetheless bank a portion that is significant, not just in quantity but also in accessibility. In light of the extreme freshwater shortages experts predict, glacial water is of extraordinary value and waste of this resource is to humanity’s peril.

Suggested Citation

Thorson, Erica J., Sharing the Himalayan Glaciers: The Role of Territorial Sovereignty (Spring 2009). Duke Journal of Comparative & International Law, Vol. 19, 2009, Available at SSRN:

Erica J. Thorson (Contact Author)

Lewis & Clark Law School ( email )

10015 S.W. Terwilliger Blvd.
Portland, OR 97219
United States

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