Blog.Jan 30, 2014

Transboundary water co-operation in the Middle East

Last Monday I had the opportunity to travel in Israel and the West Bank together with the organisation Friends of the Earth Middle East and New York Times Journalist Thomas Friedman.

We visited Hebron industrial area as well as witnessed the Kidron Stream outside of Jerusalem – a stream largely made up of sewage water since there is not agreement on how to deal with this sewage water between Israel and the Palestinians.

It is in the context of conflict, occupation and challenging relations that the parties need to find ways to cooperate over their transboundary waters. Israel and Palestine share much of the same resources and in the ongoing US-led negotiations between them water is one instrumental part.

It is the topic of cooperation over transboundary waters that I made a contribution to the UNESCO World Social Science Report 2013 with the title “Glass half full or half empty? Transboundary water co-operation in the Jordan Basin”.

The conclusion is that it is not a question of either or but we can see water being an issue were cooperation is happening but also were conflict persists. It is important to move beyond mere blue prints of either or and analyze if the cooperation brings justice, equity and better access for all. Let us hope that the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are able to produce a water outcome that is for the good of both peoples in this troubled region.

  • Link to the chapter of  the World Social Science Report 2013 containing the article
  • The full World Social Science Report is being presented in Stockholm today between 09:30-12:00. Read more about the launch here.