The value of water dialogues
How can shared water resources contribute to dialogue and trust? This was the key theme when The Shared Waters Partnership facilitated a side event entitled, “Opportunities for Water Diplomacy in Conflict-prone Regions” at the Eighth session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Water Convention on October 10th, 2018 in Astana, Kazakhstan.
Despite media headlines around ‘impending water wars’, the available evidence suggests discussion and management of shared water resources leads more often to cooperative efforts rather than the escalation of conflict. The panel, which included Dr. Abdullahi Elmi (Senior Advisor of the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources of Somalia), Mr. Jamal Mohsin Ali Al-Ani (Director General, Planning and Follow Up Directorate, Ministry of Water Resources of the Republic of Iraq), and Mr. Mohd Hassan Faizee (Director General for Border Affairs and Transboundary Water, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan) reflected on the evidence base for lessons learnt about cooperation and conflict between riparian countries from diverse water diplomacy processes. Key themes focused on how water dialogues have benefitted their countries – technically, socially, environmentally and economically, creating opportunities ‘beyond water’ to enhance mutual understanding.