McGeorge School of Law

McGeorge School of Law professor wins prestigious international Stockholm Water Prize

March 22, 2017

Stephen McCaffrey, trailblazer in international water law, wins 2017 Stockholm Water Prize

Distinguished Professor Stephen McCaffrey, trailblazer in international water law, wins 2017 Stockholm Water Prize

Distinguished Professor of Law Stephen McCaffrey at McGeorge School of Law has been named 2017 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate for his unparalleled contribution to the evolution and progressive realization of international water law. On the McGeorge faculty since 1977, he is the single most respected authority on International Water Law, and his work continues to influence scholars, legal practitioners and policy-makers and contribute to the sustainable and peaceful management of shared waters.

The announcement was made on March 22 at the annual UN-Water official World Water Day event in Durban, South Africa. H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, Patron of Stockholm Water Prize, will present the prize to Stephen McCaffrey at a Royal Award Ceremony on 30 August, during the 2017 World Water Week in Stockholm.


On receiving news of the prize, Professor McCaffrey says: "Learning about the Stockholm Water Prize literally took my breath away. I am deeply honored and humbled to have been selected for this prestigious award. But one always stands on the shoulders of others, and I am most grateful to those who have paved the way for me."

In its citation, the Stockholm Water Prize Nominating Committee recognizes Professor McCaffrey's "path-breaking leadership and legal scholarship in international water law. He has made a unique contribution in three specific areas: his seminal work on Treaty negotiation; his major scholarly works, including his book The Law of International Watercourses and; his leadership providing expert legal advice, wise counsel, training and facilitation of complex negotiations with a wide range of stakeholders."

"International and environmental law have always been exciting to students and I am happy to be able to bring real-world experience in these fields to the classroom, especially since they will be practicing in an increasingly globalized and environmentally threatened world," said McCaffrey in his McGeorge faculty profile.

Professor McCaffrey has been acting as legal counsel to states in several negotiations concerning international watercourses. The cases include watercourses in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Although he has experienced first-hand the potential conflict over freshwater resources, he remains an optimist, pointing to studies that have shown that shared fresh water is generally a catalyst for cooperation rather than conflict.

"I believe nobody who studies, researches or practises in the field of transboundary water management, water law or diplomacy could be unaware of Professor McCaffrey's contribution to the conceptual and practical elaboration of the many legal concepts and principles that we now take for granted," says Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) Executive Director Torgny Holmgren.

McGeorge School of Law is distinguished by the breadth and depth of the faculty's engagement with international and transnational law. Faculty scholarship influences policy and practice, and pedagogy promotes intercultural competence and exposes students to global issues right across the curriculum. U.S. News & World Report has ranked McGeorge's International Law program among the top programs in the country for the sixth year in a row, this year as No. 24 in the 2018 Best Graduate Schools guide.

For more on the Laureate, visit Past award winners represent a broad range of water-related activities, professions and disciplines from around the world. Watch a video interview with Professor McCaffrey about the announcement here.