Governing the global freshwaters in a cooperative, equitable and sustainable manner is critical for sustainable development, conflict prevention, peace and climate change resilience. Water conventions aim to protect and ensure the quantity, quality and sustainability of water resources through a governing normative framework within which states sharing freshwater can organize their relationships. Two important UN global water conventions- the Water Convention and Watercourses Convention-offer a common language for facilitating cooperation and common understanding among countries sharing transboundary rivers, lakes and aquifers. 

Both UN global water conventions complement and support the implementation of other global conventions related to water, including the UN Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention to Combat Desertification, the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance and the UN Human Rights Framework, with emphasis on the human rights to water and sanitation.