Research by the Luc Hoffmann Institute and partners has fed into a report by the Global High Level Panel on Water and Peace which reinforces the international framework for promoting water cooperation.
The panel was launched in 2015 in Geneva to develop proposals for preventing and resolving water-related conflicts, promoting water for peace-building and endorsing water issues in national and global policy.
The link between water scarcity and conflict is well documented. Water-related issues have contributed to conflicts in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere while competition for water continues to grow with rapid urbanisation, pollution and climate change. Yet water is only gradually emerging on the international security agenda.
Inputs to the panel’s report, A Matter of Survival, released on 15 September, included Intersectorality and Conflict, a summary of a meeting convened by the Geneva Water Hub, the Luc Hoffmann Institute, IUCN and the World Economic Forum in 2016.
Water resource governance is closely linked to the governance of other resources such as land, energy and food and often involves trade-offs. These links add to existing pressures on water, land and energy systems.
The roundtable report includes a case study of conflict between mining and agriculture in Peru; industries’ perspective on water problems in India; a case study of the Mekong River basin and conflicts between energy and food production at local, national and regional scales in Cambodia. The Cambodia case study is based on the experiences of a Luc Hoffmann Institute project.
The report makes six main recommendations: improve transparency by better information-sharing; improve multi-stakeholder platforms; explore the development of a code of conduct for the private sector; develop a set of global standards for infrastructure development that affects water resources such as mines or dams; create a special facilitator on intersectoral conflict; and invest in tertiary education on water resource management.
An agreement has been signed between the University of Geneva and Swiss Government to pursue the hydrodiplomacy agenda. The university is home to the Geneva Water Hub which combines hydro-diplomatic action and research.
Key findings of A Matter of Survival are being presented to the UN Security Council and the 2018 World Water Forum, the world’s biggest water-related event.
Speech ‘water as a source of peace’ by Swiss Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter at the launch of the report.