News in 2021

International Boundaries on Unstable Ground

January 2021

New FIG Publication no 76

Editor: Haim Srebro
Authors: Vincent Belgrave, Andrea Cantile, Donald Grant, William A. Robertson and Haim Srebro

This FIG Publication on International Boundaries on Unstable Ground is a supplement and extension to FIG Publication 59 on International Boundary Making. Publication no. 59 mainly elaborated on the process of international boundary making with the specified and important goal to achieve a long lasting stable agreed boundary line.

IInternational Boundaries on Unstable Ground is a valuable supplement to promote just, peace and inclusive societies throughout the world and achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No. 16 on Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. It is intended to promote the sharing of methodological knowledge and experience regarding delimitation of international boundaries and to promote peace throughout the world.

This FIG Publication deals with:

  • river boundaries, elaborating on the practical case of the Jordan and Yarmuk Rivers
  • boundaries in lakes and elaborates on the practical case of the Dead Sea
  • The Italian boundaries on melting glaciers and the “moving border” approach, and
  • Issues of instability of boundaries due to tectonic plate movement, including issues of geodetic reference systems for boundary documentation.

FIG Publication 76 has been initiated and edited by Dr. Haim Srebro, who has already developed methodology of a process driven boundary making model (FIG Publication 59), following almost fifty years of practical experience in boundary making, including boundary delimitation in rivers and lakes. The practical part has been prepared by senior practical professionals, with expertise in boundary delimitation and demarcation. Three of them served as Director Generals of national surveying and mapping organizations (Dr. Haim Srebro in Israel and Dr. Bill Robertson and Prof. Don Grant in New Zealand), one served as chief geographer (Prof. Andrea Cantile in IGMI Italy), and one served as chief surveyor in UN international boundary missions (Vince Belgrave).

In his preface FIG President Rudolf Staiger writes:

"Borders", "demarcation lines" or "frontiers" are on one hand evoking negative associations like separation and segregation. But on the other hand they also serve for good being often the basement of a peaceful and life together with our neighbours. In the latter sense each borderline is also an important element of a prosperous coexistence. The legal act of establishment and recognition of borders between private properties is normally regulated in the national law based on a common understanding and on one constitution.

Defining, establishing and maintaining international boundaries is a very demanding task. The underlying legal framework is more complex. Several states with different constitutions and varying legal opinions are involved. International agreements are the base for the recognition of a border between two or more states.

FIG thanks the authors for their valuable contribution as international experts of boundary-makers. We hope that this publication will be an informative guide for the definition of future international borders.



Louise Friis-Hansen
11 January 2021