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Presentation on theme: "WATER CONFLICT, SECURITY AND COOPERATION"— Presentation transcript:

Dr. Marwa Daoudy IUHEI (Geneva), CERI (Paris)

2 « Water is not necessary for life, it is life »
Antoine de St-Exupéry, Terre des Hommes, 1939

PARTIAL PERSPECTIVE: « Crisis » or « war» because of freshwater scarcity – « geopolitics of water » INTERNATIONAL GOVERNANCE OF THE ENVIRONMENT: Sanitary, environmental, political, institutional and financial issues

4 MAP Water, an International Issue The Debate: Water and IR Benefit-Sharing

Resource use per person per year Rate of utilization Dependency rate on external sources


7 WATER-RELATED DATA 263 internationally shared basins (A. Wolf, Oregon State, Water Database) 70 in Africa, 55 in Europe, 40 in Asia, 33 in South America, 6 in the Middle East 1400 million cubic kilometers (millions of billions of m3), 70% of the earth, only 2.5% of freshwater Renewable resources: km3/year, i.e. 0,007% of the total water volume Not an issue of global availability but geographic distribution: 9 countries – 60% of world water resources.

Availability per person per year: > 1700 m3/h/an: relative water sufficiency Between 1700 and 1000 m3/p/year: water stress Between 1000 and 500 m3/p/y: scarcity line < 500 m3/p/y: absolute scarcity

Rate of dependence on external sources: Upstream/downstream (main areas of tension) E.g: Turkmenistan (98%), Egypt (97%), Syria (80%)

10 INDICATORS (III) Water utilizations: 70% to agriculture (ME: 80-90%)
Global food: need to find a balance between agriculture/industry/domestic use

Health-related dilemmas: Water quality (80% of diseases are water-borne in poor countries - WHO) Pollution (pesticides and salinity of water and soils)

Demographic growth: World population: x 3 in 100 years Pressures on water: x 6 in 100 years Mainly in developing countries Increased urbanization: + pressure on water (90% of demographic growth is absorbed by cities) Green Revolution: food security, intensive irrigation practices (vs. Blue Revolution ) Urbanization: – activités industrielles + habitat. Green Revolution: – fertilisation régions désertiques (Asie Centrale, Irak) augmentation surfaces irriguées (irrigation intensive)

Increased water demand (demographic growth) Decreased water supply and water quality Main areas of conflict

Decision-making process? Execution of mandates? Accountability, responsibility?

15 THE DEBATE Institutional, economic, ethical, strategic and political issues at stake No common vision or unified strategy

Efficiency of international agreements Legitimacy of procedures Equitable share of responsibilities

17 International Water Governance
Environmental, economic and social issues Sustainable development: Promoting Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) Global good vs. Economic good Water ethics: International Water Law

18 MULTILATERALISM Promoting International Water Governance:
Stockholm, Rio, Johannesburg 1972, 1992, 2002

* Sustainable water management and sustainable development * Integrating sometimes opposed interests (ecosystems/human needs, surface water/underground resources, upstream/downstream interests, different uses…). * Chapter 18 of Agenda 21 (Rio): water is an economic good

20 WATER AND ECONOMICS Symbolic dimension: water = gift from God= public good Water costs?

Regional scarcity: need to calculate total distribution costs Global economic costs: distribution + opportunity + external Conclusion: need to enhance economic efficiency and environmental, ecological sustainability. Avoid « tragedy of common goods ».

Private investments in water sector Investments to increase water supplies (supply management): desalination « Virtual water »: food imports = water imports (1500 m3/ton of cereals) Water markets Exporting water (Turkey).

23 ISSUES AT STAKE Privatization of water sector: risks
Water access as human right Water as global public good Third way: between total privatization and total State control

24 WATER ETHICS Need to enhance cooperation among States
International legal standards Slow but steady construction of IL on utilization of international watercourses for non-navigational purposes (United Nations Convention, 1997).

25 CONCLUSIONS Multidimensional issue
Water: human survival, economic growth and political stability « Hydro-politics »: link between hydraulic issues strategic, economic and political levels (cooperation, conflict, security).


27 The Theoretical Debate
I. Water Conflict & Cooperation: some IR theories II. Debating water issues in the 1990s: environmental security vs. virtual water III. Debating water issues today: benefit sharing vs. water rights.

28 Water Specificity – Some Theoretical implications
Global Common Good = need for collective action Avoid « tragedy of the commons » (Hardin, 1968) or unilateral abuse by developing common and organized management of resources. Common and organized management of resources: (Ostrom, 1991). Recent studies suggest that average cost of desalinated water is 65 c/m3. Water property rights: Moore, 1992 & 1994; Luterbacher, Schellnhuber & Wiegandt, 2000. Political economy: Harvard Water Project, Fisher & al.

29 Water, Conflict and Security

30 Conflict over Water Classification criteria (Zeitoun & Warner, 2006):
Development disputes Control of water resources Water as political tool Water as military target Water as military tool Inter-State Intra-State

31 Water Conflict and Cooperation
Regime Theory: regional institutions to manage cooperative regimes for natural resources. International Governance: agent-based resolution of collective problems at local, national and international level. Regime theory: (Young, 1989; Haas, Keohane & Levy, 1993; Kibaroglu, 1998) Hegemonic stability theory: (Lowi, 1994) No conflict over water in ME: Waterbury, 1994). International governance: (Medzini & Wolf, 2001).

32 Water Conflict & Cooperation
Power Matrix: additional factors (other than asymmetry) to explain link between water and conflict (interests, riparian position, projected power). Inherent asymmetry as specific nature of conflicts over water (Haftendorn, 2000). Conflict resolution should address asymmetric structure of conflict Power matrix: (Naff & Frey, 1985 Inherent asymmetry: (Haftendorn, 2000). Debate in 90s: (Th. Homer-Dixon, 1994): Virtual water: (Allan, 2000).

33 Water Conflict vs. Water Cooperation
Environmental security vs. virtual water (Pessimists vs. Optimists) Debate in 1990s: very high risks of violent conflict because of increasing water scarcity (e.g., Middle East) Vs. no conflict despite water scarcity and tensions: additional supply through water embedded in food imports

34 GEOPOLITICAL STUDIES Conventional Geopolitics:
Natural resource endowments and geography are defining features of a State’s status Geographical and environmental determinism

35 WATER - GEOPOLITICS Neo-Malthusianism: « WATER WARS»
Demographic growth, resource scarcity and violent conflict Cornucopian perspectives: cooperation vs. conflict Available but mismanaged resources Need to evaluate resources economically (price) (Homer-Dixon)


37 The Debate The inevitability of water conflicts is supported by quantitative and qualitative analysis. The link between water and violent conflict is thus confirmed. As a strategic security concern, water can become a source of conflict but interdependent riparian states are more likely to cooperate over water.

38 Water & Security A new debate on national security: critical security studies (CSS) Enlargement of threats: from traditional (military, economic) to non-traditional (environment, resources, health) Link between environmental problems and emergence of conflicts « Environmental security » Critical security studies: (Krause & Williams, 1997). Securitization: (Buzan,Waever & de Wilde, 1998)

39 Research Questions What linkages are established between the environment and security? How can they explain the successful securitization of the environment as a referent object since the 1990s. Some would argue that resource scarcities have been over-securitized in the last decades. How? Why? What about current trends towards the securitization of the environment in relation to development?

40 Environmental Security (1)
Transnational environmental problems Resource-based conflicts

41 Environmental Security (2)
Toronto School (Homer-Dixon, 1993, 1994) Oslo School (Gledditsch, 1998, 2000) Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars (ECSP), Washington.

Link between environmental problems (water) and national security issues Threat perception Securitization of environmental problems: maintain local biosphere as an essential support on which will depend all other human activities (Buzan et al., 1998, p. 74)

43 UNDERLYING CONCEPTS Negotiation Power (asymmetry) Conflict (resolution)

44 Water, Conflict and Negotiation

45 NEGOTIATION ELEMENTS Actors Structure Process Strategies Results

46 ACTORS Defining the Hegemon: State that temporarily gains a preponderance of power in the international and/or regional system It can unilaterally dominate the rules and procedures that guide political and economic relations – and water dynamics

47 STRUCTURE Asymmetry of power (upstream/downstream, military, economic resources) History of relations (politics, culture, etc..) Structural power (1st dimension of power)

48 Cooperative, integrative Conflict-oriented, distributive
PROCESS Cooperative, integrative (win-win) Conflict-oriented, distributive (win-lose) Mixed (but predominantly…)

49 Bargaining Power (« 2nd face of power »)
STRATEGIES Bargaining Power (« 2nd face of power ») Time Costs of no agreement

50 Bilateral vs. basin-wide, temporary vs. lasting, stable, unstable
AGREEMENTS Bilateral vs. basin-wide, temporary vs. lasting, stable, unstable Structure of agreements = power structure (Schelling, 1960) BATNA: Best Alternative to No Agreement

51 How to reach agreements in situations of Hydro-Hegemony?
Security dilemma Unilateral upstream development = dependence and insecurity for downstream riparians  Bargaining power: reverse of asymmetrical dynamics

52 Some Counter-Hegemony Strategies
Issue-Linkage: linkage, securitization process Change the other riparian’s utilities & alternatives Impact on strategic, economic, security interests Immediate interests: food and water security General interests: regional, border security International Law: source of bargaining and structural power for dependent and/or downstream riparians

53 Power Asymmetry: The Debate
Power asymmetry between strong and weaker riparians constitutes a major source of water conflict. The will of the stronger states prevails and determines the course of action. Power asymmetry between strong and weaker riparians constitutes a major source of water cooperation A difference in power symmetries presents an opportunity for weaker riparians to find solutions and strategies to impact the process and final outcome, thus enhancing the “power of the weak”.

54 Water Conflict Resolution
Asymmetry of power: specific to water conflicts vs. political or some other environmental conflicts Resolve the conflict by addressing the structure of conflict, not causes “Desecuritization” process: focus on interests, power and rights

Research findings: more efficient outcomes if asymmetry of power (power strategies) – limits to Hydro-Hegemony Only bilateral agreements – limits to issue linkage and downstream power

56 Water Cooperation & Economics

57 «Cornucopian » perspectives
Political Economy Cooperative solutions through water markets and pricing of water: Virtual water Demand management Benefit-sharing

58 The Debate Cooperation through joint water management, information-sharing, monitoring, etc. can provide the incentive for broader cooperation between co-riparians that is needed for effective de-securitization, thus allowing for conflict prevention/transformation, mutual benefit-sharing and development of all the concerned riparian states.

59 Policy & Research Findings
“Transboundary Water Cooperation as a Tool for Conflict Prevention and Broader Benefit-Sharing”, Expert Group on Development Issues of the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs Co-authored with Phillips, Mc Caffrey, Öjendal, & Turton, 2006.

60 The framework for the approach
Specific research and policy-oriented questions: What role does the sharing of benefits play in the conflict/cooperation debate? Can cooperation on the sharing of international watercourses be utilized as a broader conflict prevention tool? What are the key areas for development partners in integrating trans-boundary water management more closely into their overall development agendas?

61 From ‘Water Wars’ to the Sharing of Benefits
Options for cooperation and the amicable sharing of benefits resulting from professionally managed watersheds. The ‘desecuritization of water resource management’

62 Benefit-Sharing Sadoff and Grey (2002)
Simplest and most useful general framework to date Benefits from cooperation over a shared river basin may be divided into four different categories: ‘environmental’, ‘economic’, ‘political’, and ‘catalytic’.

63 The Inter-SEDE Model Phillips et al., 2006: assumption that a well-managed watershed will provide enhanced benefits in terms of Security, Economic Development, and the Environment Comparative analysis for the Jordan, the Kagera and the Mekong basins Establishment of relevant categories of indicators for 21 riparians of the three basins

64 Categories of Benefits
Security: promotion of peaceful relations, reduction of military expenditure, prevention of human and societal insecurity. Economic development: enhancement of trade, food production, local household consumption, livelihoods. Both of the above elements are nested in the environment: contribution to biodiversity, promotion of sustainable management of trans-boundary resources, access to sufficient w. resources.

65 Identify Key Drivers Use indicators to identify key drivers
All riparians have been ranked for all the indicators and resulting ranks placed in five bands: 1-5 Conclusions: relative importance of different categories of drivers

66 CONCLUSIONS Clear need for further development of the concept as a whole: “one size does not fit all” Over-riding importance of security-related dynamics: securitization/de-securitization dynamics Any successful benefit-sharing scheme will require the generation of a ‘broad basket’ of possible benefits to act as an inducement to each co-riparian to be involved. Benefit-sharing will need to be established based on concrete inducements which can be quantified Equitable allocation vs. benefits: two sides of same coin

67 From Theory to Reality? Testing the frameworks in the Jordan and Mekong Basins.


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