Spotlight: Water Diplomacy – Making Water Cooperation Work

The Water Diplomacy Team is working to solve conflicts around the world

Water diplomacy is a core theme at The Hague Institute for Global Justice. Combining Dutch experience and with international expertise, the Institute’s water diplomacy team conducts policy-relevant research and actively facilitates stakeholder dialogues with diplomats, technical experts and governance specialists to solve water-related disputes. Comparative country analysis and local case studies also form the basis of the team’s efforts. The team is currently engaged in seven projects and operates in some of the world’s key hot-spots.

Projects

Water Diplomacy: Making Water Cooperation Work
This project will identify the key factors necessary to mitigating water conflict and promoting water cooperation. Next to high-level multi-stakeholder dialogues on multi-track water diplomacy, an innovate framework for political economy and ecology analysis will be applied in the Jordan Basin and Brahmaputra Basin to gain more insight in legal, economic and institutional power dynamics across borders, followed by recommendations to institutionalize cooperation over shared resources.

Governance of Climate Adaptation in Small Island Developing States
Combining data, research and stakeholder dialogues, this 2-year pilot project will develop local climate action plans in vulnerable hotspots in Zanzibar, Tanzania. It will also identify best practices for climate adaptation governance, based on comparative analysis of frontrunner case studies in Small Island Development States (SIDS), such as Fiji and Barbados In January 2015, the Institute launched on the ground activities in Zanzibar, Tanzania.

Water Conflicts in Yemen
In coordination with field-partners and the Embassy of the Netherlands in Yemen, The Hague Institute conducted a three-phase study to investigate the formal and informal political economy of water management in Yemen.

Integrated Transboundary Master Plan for the Lower Jordan River Basin
Water scarcity and distribution is often overlooked in the conflict between Israel and Palestine. In an effort to produce a healthy ecosystem, distribute water fairly and provide open public access to the Jordan River, the Institute is collaborating with partners from Israel, Palestine and Jordan. This project is funded by the European Union.

Water as a Permanent Status Issue In The Israeli – Palestinian Negotiations
The Hague Institute acted as third-party mediator for the operationalization of the Water Annex (GI Water Annex), an element of the 2003 Geneva Accord proposing a detailed solution for a final peace agreement. Third-party and multitrack diplomacy are critical to maintaining dialogue under uncertain political conditions, particularly when formal negotiations have come to a halt, as they have between Israel and the Palestine Authority. Especially in these times, it is important that a peaceful diplomatic solution to vital contested issues is still possible.

Palestinian-Dutch Academic Cooperation Program on Water (PADUCO)
Under this program, The Hague Institute is involved in a joint research project on ‘Rethinking the Water Governance Systems to Cope with Water Scarcity.’ In particular. Dr. Huntjens will supervise a M.Sc.-student of Wageningen University, Ms. Juliane Schillinger, to conduct a water governance assessment in Palestine Territories, in collaboration with Al Quds University, Jerusalem.

Framework for Political Economy Analysis of Transboundary Basins in Africa
Facilitating sustainable climate resilient growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is the priority of this project. The project includes two components: 1) Preparation of a Political Economy Analysis Framework, and 2) Application of the political economic analysis framework in three case studies. The three case studies include the Lake Chad Basin; the Niger Basin; and the Equatorial Lakes Region.

Publications

Water Diplomacy and Climate Governance Portfolio
The Water Diplomacy and Climate Governance Portfolio showcases The Hague Institute’s work on water conflict and cooperation. It includes projects, partnerships, events and training sessions.

The Multi-track Water Diplomacy Framework: A Legal and Political Economy Analysis for Advancing Cooperation over Shared Waters
This report, published within the context of the research project ‘Water Diplomacy: Making Water Cooperation Work,’ specifies and tests a conceptual and analytical water diplomacy framework that identifies the key factors that affect water cooperation. Knowledge of these key determinants of cooperation not only contributes to the existing body of academic knowledge, but can also help to bolster cooperation over shared waters.

Mediation in the Israeli-Palestinian Water Conflict: A Practitioner’s View
Senior Researcher Dr. Patrick Huntjens contributed this chapter to the book Water Diplomacy in Action – Contingent Approaches to Managing Complex Water Problems, edited by Shafiqul Islam and Kaveh Madani. Complex water problems are as difficult to define as they are to solve. The natural, societal and political factors that influence these problems are constantly changing. Dr. Huntjens’s chapter focuses specifically on water conflict in the Israeli-Palestinian context.

Climate Justice: Equitable and Inclusive Governance of Climate Action
Climate change and its effects are inextricably linked to complex questions of justice. These—collectively termed climate justice—have in turn been subject to an increasingly broad debate in both the scientific and the policy community.

Transboundary Wastewater Governance: Options Based on an Uncertainty Perspective
Joint governance of the shared water resources of Israelis and Palestinians is limited through a range of political disputes. One of the disputes concerns wastewater, which presents both a source as well as an environmental nuisance. This Working Paper addresses the issue of wastewater governance and identifies which uncertainties can hinder transboundary cooperation on wastewater throughout the West Bank.

Effectiveness of Multi-stakeholder Dialogues on Water
Multi-stakeholder dialogues aim to create and support spaces, in which meaningful conversations can take place among diverse stakeholder groups. A key notion is that dialogues can inform and help shape more formal negotiation and decision-making processes by bringing in a wider range of perspectives on needs, impacts and options, and having them deliberated openly. This study shows that it is possible to draw comparative insights about the dialogues by using relatively simple questions about principle events.

Climate Change as a Threat Multiplier
Climate change and its effects are inextricably linked to complex questions of security. In this paper, the authors address two broad categories of security: national and international (the security of states) and human (the security of people). In this paper, the authors first examine state-of-the art research and thinking on the implications of climate change for security and then identify the key governance challenges the international system faces.

Adaptive Delta Governance
This policy brief reflects on key lessons learned and the way forward in three deltas: the Rhine-Meuse in the Netherlands, the Mekong in Vietnam, and the Sacramento–San Joaquin River in the United States. It provides recommendations for improving delta governance targeted at practitioners, policymakers, and researchers working on climate change, environmental policy, politics, and governance. The recommendations focus on dealing with the uncertainties of the impacts of climate change, on closing the innovation gap between science, policy and society, and on facilitating effective stakeholder participation, learning and integration.

The Political Economy of Water Management in Yemen: Conflict Analysis and Recommendations
The Hague Institute published a report detailing the political economy of water conflicts in Yemen. The report, Commissioned by the Dutch Embassy in Yemen offers insights and recommendations to address the threat of conflict from water related issues.

Climate Security and Justice for Small Island Developing States
This policy brief reviews both the challenges that SIDS face because of climate change in terms of adaptation and development, internal displacement and migration, sovereignty and exclusive economic zones, as well as the means they use to advance their cause, such as legal claims to compensation and multilateral diplomacy.

The Water Diplomacy Consortium

Water management and fair distribution is an increasingly important issue on the international agenda. The Hague Institute for Global Justice has joined forces with the Netherlands Institute for International Relations “Clingendael”, Water Governance Centre, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, and the UPEACE Center The Hague to form the Water Diplomacy Consortium (WDC). Watch the video below to learn more. Visit the project page.

Originally published on 31 March 2015. Last update: 7 September 2016

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