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8 May 2024 - 10 May 2024

9:00AM - 4:00PM

The Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand

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IBRU Professional Training Workshop on river boundaries taking place in Bangkok, Thailand

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Boats on the Mekong River Image courtesy of DEZALB from Pixabay

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Workshop Details

Three quarters of the world’s international land boundaries follow rivers for at least part of their course. In addition, nearly 300 river basins are shared by two or more states. Both the definition of river boundaries and the management of shared rivers generate a multitude of legal, technical, and functional challenges, for which no instruction manual has yet been written.

This unique course is designed to help governments and boundary practitioners develop effective strategies for turning river boundaries and international rivers into assets rather than a source of friction between the riparian states. Led by expert tutors with extensive practical experience of resolving problems associated with shared rivers, the workshop will cover issues such as: defining and demarcating river boundaries; identifying key river features such as the thalweg, the ‘main channel’ and the ‘banks’; islands in boundary rivers; monitoring and accommodating physical changes in river boundaries; managing access and resource use in shared rivers; and resolving disputes over river boundaries and international rivers. The workshop will combine instruction in the principles and practice of river boundary definition and management, detailed case studies and practical exercises.

Workshop Flyer

IBRU Workshop Flyer Rivers May 2024 Cover 300x424

IBRU Workshop Flyer Rivers May 2024

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Workshop Tutors

Mr Songchai Chaipatiyut 

Deputy Director-General, Department of Treaties and Legal Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand

Mr. Sophearin Chea

Chief River Basin Planner at the Mekong River Commission Secretariat

Dr Riley Denoon

Barrister, Solicitor and Independent Legal Consultant, Transboundary & International Environmental and Watercourse Resources, British Columbia, Canada

Professor Martin Pratt

Director, Bordermap Consulting Ltd

Professor Alan D. Ziegler

Faculty of Fisheries Technology and Aquatic Resources, Maejo University, Thailand

Representative of the Mekong River Commission (to be confirmed)

Workshop Tutor Biographies

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Workshop Programme

Wednesday 8 May


  • River boundaries around the world
  • Why rivers are chosen as boundaries
  • Challenges associated with river boundaries

River systems and their complexity

  • The fluvial system
  • The river continuum
  • Channel dynamics
  • The significance of timescales

River boundary definition                            

  • The legal framework
  • Where in the river is the boundary located?
  • Implications of changes in boundary rivers
  • Islands in boundary rivers
  • Interpreting terms used in river boundary definition (thalweg, main channel, bank, median line, source, confluence, tributary, etc)

Practical exercise  

Working with maps and other geographical data, participants will
attempt to identify the alignment of a number of river boundaries

Thursday 9 May

The utilisation of boundary rivers and international rivers 

  • Navigational uses and rules
  • Non-navigational uses and rules
  • Rights and responsibilities of upstream and downstream states

Case study: Thailand’s experience of defining and managing
river boundaries

Case study: the Mekong River Commission 

  • purpose, structure and activities
  • collaboration with stakeholders
  • successes, failures and lessons learned

Practical exercise                          

Working in teams, participants will seek to agree an equitable river
boundary regime between two fictional states

Friday 10 May

Locating and analysing river boundaries

  • Map data
  • Remotely-sensed imagery
  • Challenges in surveying river boundaries

Resolving disputes related to river boundaries    

  • State practice
  • Case law
  • Options for third-party assistance in dispute resolution

Managing river boundaries

  • Management challenges
  • From demarcation to management: the evolving role of boundary commissions
  • Conflict prevention

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What is included in the workshop cost

In addition to tuition and all course materials, the fee covers the following: 

  • Lunch and refreshment breaks

The Venues

The Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand 


Please note, accommodation is not included in the workshop fee. You will need to book your own accommodation.

Accommodation is available at an agreed rate with the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel.

A booking link will be provided to book your accommodation once you have reserved you place on the workshop if you wish to stay at this hotel.


You are expected to organise your own travel arrangements to Thailand. Please be aware that if you require a visa to visit the Kingdom of Thailand, you will be required to apply for your own visa for entry in to the country. Please allow enough time for your visa to be processed before the start of the workshop. A letter on invitation can be provided to support your visa application. 


Teaching and workshop materials will be in English. 


Cancellations must be received in writing not later than the 24 April 2024 and will be subject to a £250 cancellation fee, unless a substitute participant is offered. After this date the full registration fee will be charged for all cancellations. 

Programme changes 

IBRU reserves the right to modify the programme as necessary, without notice to participants. 

Reduced Workshop Rate for LDC list countries

For countries on the United Nations Least Developed Countries (LDC) list, the cost of the workshop will be £1,250 per participant.

NOTE: Places will be restricted to only 2 places per LDC country per workshop at this reduced rate. Any additional places will be available at the full cost price. Places will be available on a first come first served basis.

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£2,250 per person


The cost of the workshop will be £2,250 per participant. (£1,250 pp LDC rate). Payment can only be accepted in £ sterling by BACS or by major credit and debit cards. Full payment must be received prior to the workshop.