However, with climate change affecting our planet, managing water resources has become more challenging, especially when it comes to transboundary water management. Without proper collaboration and management, this can lead to conflict and instability. That’s where the Peace Innovation Institute comes in. The Institute’s dedication to cross-sector partnerships offers hope for a future where the sustainable use of water resources is a catalyst for peace, resilience, and shared prosperity.
Recently, ClimateActionWorks and the Peace Innovation Institute at The Hague convened a global online event on March 21, 2023 as a part of UN Water Week with experts from academia, business & industry, and political leadership.
Here are some key takeaways from the event:
1. Water insecurity is a global issue
Deputy Mayor Robert van Asten of the City of The Hague highlighted that water insecurity is increasing worldwide, with a third of the world’s population living in water-scarce regions. Droughts affect over 50 million people annually and cause more than $5 billion in damages.
2. Transboundary water management is crucial for conflict prevention
The Transboundary Water InCooperation Network (TWIN) was born in Montreal and connects 35 community organizations worldwide. TWIN’s call for a UN convention on protecting the great river deltas of the world could be a significant step toward transboundary water management. Such management aims to promote sustainable and equitable use of water resources, reduce tensions between nations, and promote cooperation.
3. Innovative solutions can lead to peacebuilding
The Green Technologies in Cooperative Date Farming Project, implemented by the Palestinian Wastewater Engineers Group and the Arava Institute, shows how innovative and sustainable solutions can reduce the potential for future conflicts. By installing new, sustainable technology for wastewater and energy needs, future potential conflict over critical resources is reduced, especially in the Jordan Valley. Projects like this demonstrate how transboundary water management can be a catalyst for peacebuilding and sustainable development.
4. Collaborative projects can increase trust and understanding
Dr. Mohamed Hafez from Egypt emphasized the need to build trust and capacity across the Nile Basin countries. Projects that contribute to water efficiency, integrated water resource management, confidence building, and awareness raising can achieve goals and expected impacts like improving hydroelectric power production and irrigation efficiency, leading to higher agricultural yields, and thus improving food security and alleviating poverty. Integrated and joint river basin management offers the greatest opportunity to unleash economic growth, promote regional integration, and realize peace and stability.
5. Being proactive in implementing water solutions is necessary
The need for binational collaborative work to promote trust and data exchange between different countries is necessary in transboundary aquifers like the Mesilla/Conejos Médanos Aquifer and the Hueco Bolson. Ana Cristina Garcia Vasquez from New Mexico State University’s Water Resources Institute has been working on US/Mexico transboundary water issues. She identified the challenges that arise from binational collaborative work and the need for proactive implementation of solutions to promote trust and data exchange between different countries. Being proactive in implementing water solutions can avoid potential conflict in the future.
The event highlighted the crucial role of collaboration and innovation in promoting sustainable and equitable use of water resources. Transboundary water management is not only essential for conflict prevention but also a catalyst for peacebuilding and sustainable development. The innovative solutions presented during the event demonstrate that being proactive in implementing water solutions can avoid potential conflicts in the future.
Collaboration among stakeholders from different sectors, innovative solutions, and proactive implementation of water solutions are essential to ensure a sustainable and peaceful future. The Peace Innovation Institute’s work on transboundary water management and water diplomacy offers hope for a future where the sustainable use of water resources is a catalyst for peace, resilience, and shared prosperity.