Conflict and Transboundary Water Issues

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Anita Milman
Wednesday 13 July 2011

Conflict and Transboundary Water Issues

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Conflict and Transboundary Water Issues

  1. 1. Transboundary Waters Conflict and Cooperation Anita Milman, University of East Anglia July 13, 2011 1 Environmental Conflicts Summer Schoo
  2. 2. OVERVIEW• Shared Water Resources• Water Wars: Conflict & Cooperation• Empirical Analysis: Analyzing History• Theory: International Relations• Law, Negotiations & Agreements• Beyond ‗the State‘• Shared Water in a Changing World 2
  3. 3. Shared Empirical Law & Beyond the Changing Water Wars IR TheoryWater Analysis Agreements State World Water is a shared resource 263 International River Basins http://www.transboundarywaters.orst.edu/ 3
  4. 4. Shared Empirical Law & Beyond the Changing Water Wars IR TheoryWater Analysis Agreements State WorldGroundwater flows unseen across political boundaries 4 http://www.whymap.org
  5. 5. Shared Empirical Law & Beyond the Changing Water Wars IR TheoryWater Analysis Agreements State World Water is scarce, poorly distributed in time & space http://www.waterandnature.org/eatlas/html/gm16.html 5
  6. 6. Shared Empirical Law & Beyond the Changing Water Wars IR Theory Water Analysis Agreements State World Withdrawals are likely to increase Alcamo et al. 2007 Change in withdrawals between 1995 & 2050 under the B2climate scenario & accounting for population growth, income, 6 electricity production and water efficiency effects
  7. 7. Shared Empirical Law & Beyond the Changing Water Wars IR TheoryWater Analysis Agreements State World Future wars over water (?)―If the wars of the twentieth century were fought over oil, the wars of this century will be fought over water.‖ – World Bank―Fierce competition for fresh water may well become a source of conflict and wars in the future‖ – The United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan―Water shortages will grow even more serious; the stuff of future wars. . . . With 3.5 billion people affected by water shortages by 2050, conditions are ripe for a century of water conflicts.‖ – The Economist 7 (Quotes collected in Dinar et al. 2008)
  8. 8. Shared Empirical Law & Beyond the Changing Water Wars IR TheoryWater Analysis Agreements State World Issues that cause tension• Quantity – Navigation, flow, consumptive use, flooding• Timing• Quality – Salts, nutrients, turbidity, toxics• Infrastructure – Dams, electricity generation, treatment plants 8
  9. 9. Shared Empirical Law & Beyond the Changing Water Wars IR TheoryWater Analysis Agreements State WorldIs water a cause or a symptom?• A cause of conflict and tensions• Control as military or political goal – defining wealth or power• Used as a tool in conflict – Used to destroy or harm the enemy• A target of conflict – Marks/defines the boundary 9
  10. 10. A Conflict - Cooperation Continuum the Water Event Intensity Scale 10 Yoffe et al. (2003)
  11. 11. Shared Empirical Law & Beyond the Changing Water Wars IR TheoryWater Analysis Agreements State World Transboundary Water Interaction NexuS Matrix 11 Zeitoun, M. and N. Mirumachi (2008)
  12. 12. Cooperation is more frequent than conflict over waterBetween 1918 and 1994, more than 200 treatieswere signed; yet only 37 reported cases of inter-state violence (mostly related to Israel). Transboundary Freshwater Dispute Database 9% 1% 145 treaties analyzed 4% Hydroelectric Power 4% Water Consumption 39% 6% Industrial Use Navigation Pollution Flood Control Fishing 12 37%
  13. 13. Shared Empirical Law & Beyond the Changing Water Wars IR TheoryWater Analysis Agreements State World Cooperation is not always without conflict(Hydro) hegemony: Dominance of onesocial group over another, such that theruling group—referred to as a hegemon—acquires some degree of consent from thesubordinate, without necessarily using force 13
  14. 14. Conflict and Cooperation : Identifying Risk Factors via Empirical Analysis 14Pics: Wolf et al 2003
  15. 15. Shared Empirical Law & Beyond the Changing Water Wars IR TheoryWater Analysis Agreements State World Factors that increase CONFLICT• Water and border disputes coincide• Disruptions of anthropogenic origin• Scarcity & variability in availability• Rate of change in the basin exceeds adaptive capacity 15
  16. 16. Shared Empirical Law & Beyond the Changing Water Wars IR TheoryWater Analysis Agreements State WorldFactors that increase COOPERATION• Scarcity & variability in availability• Linkages• Collective action problem 16
  17. 17. Shared Empirical Law & Beyond the Changing Water Wars IR TheoryWater Analysis Agreements State World Factors posited as important, relation to conflict undetermined – Population density – Overall GDP – Government type (democracy) – Overall relations between countries 17
  18. 18. Theoretical Perspectives 18
  19. 19. Shared Empirical Law & Beyond the Changing Water Wars IR Theory Water Analysis Agreements State World International relations theoriesSovereignty of states Anarchical international structure Realism• States are in competition• Goal is military security and survival• Power is key• Relative gains 19
  20. 20. Shared Empirical Law & Beyond the Changing Water Wars IR Theory Water Analysis Agreements State World International relations theoriesSovereignty of states Anarchical international structure Liberalism • Underlying harmony in interests • Mutual gain from cooperating • Institutions are key • Absolute gains 20
  21. 21. Shared Empirical Law & Beyond the Changing Water Wars IR Theory Water Analysis Agreements State WorldCan economics promote cooperation?• Optimum basin development – Moving from RIGHTS to NEEDS…to INTERESTS• ‗Benefit Sharing‘ Assumes can transform from ‗win-lose‘ to ‗win-win‘ – Economies of scale – Existing inefficiencies – Heterogeneities among countries create possibilities for trade-offs 21
  22. 22. Shared Empirical Law & Beyond the Changing Water Wars IR TheoryWater Analysis Agreements State World ―Sharing‖ the gains• Compensation or side payments – Rare in exchange for water – More frequent for infrastructure• How to allocate gains? – May reflect an implicit agreement about property rights – May also reflect power dynamics 22
  23. 23. Shared Empirical Law & Beyond the Changing Water Wars IR Theory Water Analysis Agreements State WorldCooperation through issue linkage• Can reduce need for side payments• Provides enforcement mechanisms• Most useful if asymmetry between the countries on the linked issues• May be difficult to renegotiate terms 23
  24. 24. Shared Empirical Law & Beyond the Changing Water Wars IR TheoryWater Analysis Agreements State WorldBeyond Utility Max & Power Positioning• Sovereignty• Security – National existence, self-sufficiency• Image• ‗Ethos‘ of water – Use, interbasin transfers, – Identity, spiritual values, culture, etc – Importance of water in political rhetoric 24
  25. 25. LAW, NEGOTIATIONS & TREATIES 25
  26. 26. Shared Empirical Law & Beyond the Changing Water Wars IR TheoryWater Analysis Agreements State World International water law• Customary law• Bi- or multi-lateral treaties• General principles and conventions – 1911 Madrid Declaration – 1966 Helsinki Rules – 1991 International Law Commission (draft) – 1997 UN Convention (not ratified) 26
  27. 27. Shared Empirical Law & Beyond the Changing Water Wars IR TheoryWater Analysis Agreements State World Principles for allocation• Absolute sovereignty• Absolute territorial integrity• Optimum development of the basin• Community of property (Equitable and reasonable use)• No appreciable harm 27
  28. 28. Shared Empirical Law & Beyond the Changing Water Wars IR TheoryWater Analysis Agreements State WorldReasonable and Equitable Use Article 10 – 1997 UN Convention1. Geographic, hydrographic, hydrologic, climatic, ecological2. Social and economic needs3. Effects of the use on another state4. Existing and potential uses5. Conservation, protection, development and economy6. Availability of alternatives 28
  29. 29. Shared Empirical Law & Beyond the Changing Water Wars IR TheoryWater Analysis Agreements State World Types of TB River Agreements• Flow allocation or restrictions• Water quality improvements or regulations• Boundary demarcation• Infrastructure development & use• Process management – Data sharing – Technical and financial cooperation – Informing and prior consent – Joint management 29
  30. 30. Shared Empirical Law & Beyond the Changing Water Wars IR TheoryWater Analysis Agreements State World Incentives to Reach an Agreement• Risk of breakdown – Default value/ reservation utility – Impatience or temporal issues – Credible threats• Reliable expectations• Third-party involvement 30
  31. 31. Shared Empirical Law & Beyond the Changing Water Wars IR TheoryWater Analysis Agreements State World Interpretation  intractibility• Analytic uncertainty: lack of knowledge of the expected outcomes – What will be the result• Framing ambiguity: different perspectives on a problem and its solution – Scarcity/wastefulness? Dykes/floodplains?• Incommensurability: irreconcilable values and unacceptable tradeoffs – Ecosystems vs livelihoods 31
  32. 32. Shared Empirical Law & Beyond the Changing Water Wars IR TheoryWater Analysis Agreements State WorldBarriers to Reaching an Agreement• Complexity – Technical – In definition of roles and responsibilities• Wider (non-water) considerations – Conversely, water may help with those disagreements• Too many players to form ‗grand‘-coalition 32
  33. 33. Shared Empirical Law & Beyond the Changing Water Wars IR TheoryWater Analysis Agreements State WorldTwo-levels Impact Negotiations• Bureaucratic policy processes – internal power relations within the bureaucracy – Competing domestic interest groups• Executive policy process – degree of involvement of the chief executive in water matters• Residual policy processes – pork barrel, coalition policies that use water as a political weapon 33 (LeMarquand 1990)
  34. 34. Shared Empirical Law & Beyond the Changing Water Wars IR TheoryWater Analysis Agreements State World Elements of successful treaties• Self-enforcing or binding agreements – Incentives to follow through on commitment• Flexiblity – adapt to changing values, technologies and market conditions 34
  35. 35. Shared Empirical Law & Beyond the Changing Water Wars IR TheoryWater Analysis Agreements State World Uncertainty in agreementsTypes of uncertainty: – Exogenous – related to the basin – Endogenous – related to the agreementMechanisms to address uncertainty: – Ambiguity in design – Variable flow allocation, escape clauses – Monitoring – Provisions for amendments – Provisions for conflict resolution 35 Drieschova, et al. 2011
  36. 36. Shared Empirical Law & Beyond the Changing Water Wars IR TheoryWater Analysis Agreements State World Common treaty failings• Limited mandates• Constrained authority• Weak institutional capacity• Insufficient financing• Lack of enforcement• Insufficient public participation• Weighted towards technocratic solutions 36
  37. 37. Shared Empirical Law & Beyond the Changing Water Wars IR TheoryWater Analysis Agreements State World Beyond ‗State‘ & WatercourseNeed for a multi-scalar analysis• Sub- national actors• Supra- national level actorsEco-systems boundaries, global commons? 37
  38. 38. Shared Empirical Law & Beyond the Changing Water Wars IR TheoryWater Analysis Agreements State World Global Change• Environmental – E.g., climate, groundwater, emerging contaminants• Social – Urbanization, migration• Political – Jasmine revolution, increasing nationalism in the EU• Economic – Role of China, new aid networks – Sovereign wealth funds, global corporations• Increasing transnational networks 38
  39. 39. 39Contact: a.milman@uea.ac.uk
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